Cards carefully allocate bonus pool money

Cards carefully allocate bonus pool money

SEATTLE -- Two weeks after completing the 2016 MLB Draft, the Cardinals have signed 32 of their 42 picks, including each of the organization's first 16 selections. In doing so, the club has already exceeded its bonus pool limit, though the excess spending is part of the Cardinals' strategy to maximize their investment in young talent.

The organization was provided a bonus pool of $9.1433 million, a figure calculated by adding the slot values assigned to each of its picks from the first 10 rounds. All bonuses to players from those 10 rounds count against that total, as does any bonus money of more than $100,000 to a player taken later in the Draft.

According to bonus figures collected by MLB.com, the Cardinals have exceeded their bonus pool by $272,000 in signing each of their picks from rounds 1-10, as well as three later draftees who had bonuses higher than the $100,000 threshold. Those three include 11th-rounder John Kilchowski ($200,000), 12th-rounder Brady Whalen ($475,000) and 19th-rounder Daniel Castano ($130,000).

Examining the Cardinals' Draft spending helps elucidate the organization's strategy. For instance, their ability to sign four players bellow slot value helped the Cardinals accrue enough bonus pool savings for them go above-slot with their bonus offers on others.

High school outfielder Dylan Carlson signed a $1.35 million bonus, which was $559,500 less than slot value for the 33rd overall pick. He was a surprise pick so high in the Draft, but it was later learned that the Cardinals struck a pre-Draft deal with him in which he agreed to accept below-slot money.

Track all of the Cardinals Draft picks

The Cardinals also saved with their signings of Sam Tewes (8th round), Matthew Fiedler (9th round) and Danny Hudzina (10th round). Tewes, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, and Hudzina, a college senior, had little leverage to push for a higher bonus figure.

With those savings, the Cardinals were able to exceed slot value with signing bonuses for four players taken in the first five rounds. Fifth-rounder Walker Robbins was lured from a college commitment by a $450,000 bonus, $134,400 more than slot. College pitchers Dakota Hudson (No. 34 overall) and Connor Jones (No. 70) also signed above-slot bonuses, as did college catcher Jeremy Martinez, a fourth-round pick.

The Cardinals have until 4 pm CT on July 15 to agree to bonus terms with any of their 10 remaining unsigned players. The organization does have additional flexibility to offer bonuses in excess of $100,000 to other late-round selections if they'd like, as teams are allowed to surpass their bonus pool by up to five percent without being docked a future Draft pick. Any overage up to that five-percent threshold is taxed at a rate of 75 percent. The Cardinals are currently over by 2.97 percent.

Here is a more detailed look at the bonus numbers and slot values for the team's first 12 picks:

Delvin Perez, first round: Slot value: $2.2225 million; Actual bonus: $2.2225 million

Dylan Carlson, first round: Slot value: $1.9095 million; Actual bonus: $1.35 million

Dakota Hudson, first round: Slot value: $1.878 million; Actual bonus: $2 million

Connor Jones, second round: Slot value: $920,100; Actual bonus: $1.1 million

Zac Gallen, third round: Slot value: $563,100; Actual bonus: $563,100

Jeremy Martinez, fourth round: Slot value: $421,600; Actual bonus: $600,000

Walker Robbins, fifth round: Slot value: $315,600; Actual bonus: $450,000

Tommy Edman, sixth round: Slot value: $236,400; Actual bonus: $236,400

Andrew Knizner, seventh round: Slot value: $185,300; Actual bonus: $185,300

Sam Tewes, eighth round: Slot value: $172,900; Actual bonus: $100,000

Matthew Fiedler, ninth round: Slot value: $161,700; Actual bonus: $100,000

Danny Hudzina, 10th round: Slot value: $156,600; Actual bonus: $3,000