Phils' international pool limit highest in baseball

Phils' international pool limit highest in baseball

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies made a considerable investment on the international market last summer when they signed Dominican Republic outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz to a $4 million signing bonus.

Expect them to make similar investments this summer.

The Phillies will have $5,610,800 available to them during the 2016-17 international signing period, which is more than any team in baseball. It allows them to sign 16-year-old international players from July 2 through June 15, 2017, if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1, 2017, or by the completion of his first Minor League season.

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It is highly unlikely the Phillies will exceed their pool limit. Teams that exceed their pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100-percent tax on the pool overage. In other words, if the Phillies exceed their allotment this signing period, they would not be able to sign a prospect for more than $300,000 until July 2, 2019.

That makes little sense to a rebuilding team that could have a similar-size pool next signing period.

It is why sources said the Phillies are not pursing somebody like 16-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros, who figures to take more than $5.6 million to sign. The Phillies likely would pursue somebody like him when they rank more toward the bottom of baseball's international allotment, when it might be more advantageous to blow past their pool limit.

The only wrinkle there would be if Major League Baseball implements a Draft system for international players, which Commissioner Rob Manfred favors. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Dec. 1. But that might not happen quickly enough to affect the 2017-18 signing period.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.