The Marlins, who have more selections (13) in the first 10 rounds than any club, have the highest Draft pool at $14,199,300. Add in picks in rounds 11-40, and Miami's Draft expenditures could approach $15 million without the team incurring any penalties. That total could rank second or third all-time behind only the Pirates ($17,005,700) and Nationals ($15,002,100) in 2011.
The Marlins have spent as much as $8 million only once, in 2005. Scouting director Stan Meek believes he'll be able to use Florida's total allotment.
"That's been the thought of the club all along," Meek said. "We need players and we know we have a chance to get a lot of players. I would suspect we'd be able to spend it, and that would be my hope."
The Marlins' windfall is the result of several factors. They had the second-worst record in baseball last year, so they get the No. 2 overall pick, which carries a value of $6,821,800. They got compensation choices at No. 36 ($1,573,900) and No. 105 ($499,500) for failing to sign supplemental first-rounder Matt Krook and third-rounder Ben Deluzio in 2013, and they won the No. 39 selection ($1,457,600) in the competitive-balance lottery.
"We liked the guys we didn't sign last year and we hated the fact that we didn't sign them," Meek said. "But it's opened up a lot more possibilities. I think we've got to do first things first and go evaluate the players. Then once we know what the evaluations are, we'll sit down in late May and figure out what our options are."
The Astros, who own the No. 1 overall choice for an unprecedented third straight year, have the second-highest Draft allotment at $13,362,200. That top pick is valued at $7,922,100, just shy of the all-time Draft bonus record of $8 million, paid by the Pirates to No. 1 overall selection Gerrit Cole in 2011.
The lowest Draft pool belongs to the Orioles, who forfeited their first- and second-round choices by signing free agents Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz. Baltimore has an allotment of $2,204,400.
The Draft pools still could change slightly. If free agents Stephen Drew (Red Sox) and Kendrys Morales (Mariners) sign big league contracts with new teams, their former clubs will get compensation picks toward the end of the first round, and their new employers will forfeit a choice as well.
The Draft pools cover the top 10 rounds and any bonus money in excess of $100,000 given to players taken in rounds 11-40. If a player selected in the first 10 rounds doesn't sign, his assigned value is subtracted from his team's pool.
A club that exceeds its Draft pool by 0-5 percent pays a 75 percent tax on the overage. The penalties get much more severe at higher thresholds: the loss of a first-round pick and a 75 percent tax for surpassing it by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; the loss of first- and second-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and the loss of two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.
In the first two years under these rules, teams have exceeded their Draft pools a total of 22 times, but never by more than 5 percent.
While extra picks are granted in the Draft via the competitive-balance lottery, and some are gained and lost as free-agent compensation, the international slots don't change hands unless they're traded. As a result, the current totals simply reflect the reverse order of last year's Major League standings. The Astros have the highest international bonus pool at $5,015,400, while the Cardinals have the lowest at $1,866,300.
The international bonus pools cover signings from July 2 through June 15 of the following year. Players who are at least 23 years old and have played in a professional league recognized by the Commissioner's Office (such as in Cuba or Japan) for a minimum of five seasons don't count against the pool, nor do players who sign for $10,000 or less.
Clubs get penalized for exceeding their allotments for international players, but not as harshly as they do with the Draft. Any overage is taxed at a 100-percent rate. Additionally, teams can't sign a player in the next signing period for more than $500,000 if they surpass their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; can't sign a player in the next signing period for more than $300,000 if they go over by more than 10 percent and up to 15 percent; and can't sign a player in the next two signing periods for more than $300,000 if they exceed their allotment by more than 15 percent.
Because they spent more than 15 percent beyond their allotments in the 2013-14 period, the Rangers and Cubs can't sign a player for more than $250,000 in the 2014-15 period.