Preller capitalizes on CBA's final year

GM thinks Padres will benefit from new agreement

Preller capitalizes on CBA's final year

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- When all is said and done, the Padres will spend upwards of $70 million on international prospects during the current signing period. You won't see that again any time soon -- and certainly not within the next five years.

One of the more intriguing details of the recently agreed upon collective bargaining agreement is the cap on international spending. No team can exceed its signing bonus pool, and no signing bonus pool is greater than $5.75 million. (That number will grow incrementally with industry revenue).

Meanwhile, the Padres have already spent 12 times that much since the current signing period opened July 2. They've more than doubled the Braves, whose international investment of about $32 million ranks second in the Majors.

"It was part of the strategy that we looked at," Preller said. "We thought it was a good year to sign some players we thought were going to be available that we liked.

Said manager Andy Green: "I don't think there's a point in time where San Diego has made such a radical investment in the future. You look at the money that's been spent in the international market, and it's still counting. That becomes an historic investment. Because of this new CBA, no team is going to spend $60 to $100 million on finding international talent and developing it. I don't think at any time has the system been so stocked with lower-level talent."

Over the past five months, the Padres have signed more than 40 international prospects for a combined $35 million in bonuses. Because they exceeded their pool limit, they were taxed 100 percent on the spending, and they'll be capped at $300,000 for each bonus over the next two signing periods.

The new CBA hasn't changed those restrictions, meaning San Diego will be severely limited until 2018.

Still -- with five years until the next CBA is negotiated -- that leaves three periods in which the Padres will receive a full bonus pool. Preller thinks the new format could prove beneficial.

"Overall, I like the system that was negotiated," Preller said. "It probably rewards teams that scout and build relationships, that are creative within that pool amount. Everybody being on a level playing field -- that rewards teams that do it right and do it well. Hopefully we're one of those teams going forward."

As for the new international signing limit, Preller doesn't think it will have much of an impact on his scouting group.

"We've been through a bunch of different systems over the years," Preller said. "Ultimately, if you make good decisions, you work hard, you have a good process in place and you make good scouting calls, it plays out well, no matter what system it is. But we're looking forward to operating in the new system."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.