Jim Callis of Baseball America crunched the numbers for the past five drafts and reports that the Pirates led all MLB teams in spending by handing out $52 million in total signing bonuses.
Much of that has to do with having the No. 1 pick once, the No. 2 pick twice, and the No. 4 pick twice during that five-year span, but this year for example the Pirates also shelled out $5.5 million on consensus top-10 talent Josh Bell after he dropped to them in the second round because of high bonus demands.
Joining the Pirates in spending more than $50 million during the past five drafts is the Nationals at $51 million, much of which went to back-to-back No. 1 overall picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Boston ranks fourth in 2007-2011 draft spending at $40 million despite not having any top-10 picks, which shows that the Red Sox are taking significant advantage of other teams passing on top prospects due to bonus demands. Similarly the Yankees have spent $34 million on draft picks since 2007, which is well above the “slot” recommendations for where their actual picks have been.
At the other end of the spectrum the White Sox spent just $18 million and the next-lowest team, the Marlins, spent $21 million. You can see the full breakdown by clicking here.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.