International Bonus Pools and Slots

Mariners facility in the Dominican Republic.

Mariners facility in the Dominican Republic.

Monday’s trade of Austin Jackson to the Chicago Cubs included Seattle receiving a Player to be Named Later and International Bonus Slot #98 from the Cubs.

We thought it might be useful to give everyone a quick reminder on the International Bonus Pools and Slots.

The International Bonus Pools are determined based on the reverse order of overall standings from the previous season. In 2014, Seattle had the 11th-best winning percentage in Major League Baseball, so the team was assigned the 20th-largest bonus pool for the 2015-16 International Signing period. (The Arizona Diamondbacks had the worst winning percentage in baseball and received the highest bonus pool; the Los Angeles Angels had the best winning percentage in baseball and received the lowest bonus pool).

Each team’s international bonus pool is made up of a base of $700,000 and four “slot values” that range from No. 1 ($3,590,400) to No. 120 ($149,700).

The base ($700,000) and the assigned four “slot values” added together give each team its overall bonus pool. Teams can spend up to their overall bonus pool however they like on International Signings each year. Teams that exceed their overall pool are subject to penalties. The International Signing Period begins July 2 each year.

In addition to its already assigned total bonus pool of $2,150,300, Seattle received the Cubs fourth “slot value”, the overall 98th International Bonus Slot. It was valued at $211,100, so the Mariners are now able to spend up to $2,361,400 on International Signings.

The Mariners have long had a strong presence in Latin America and other International baseball hotspots, signing players like Felix Hernandez (Venezuela), Ketel Marte (Dominican Republic) and Ji-Man Choi (Korea).

While no money was sent from the Cubs to Seattle, the ability to spend more on International Signings has great value to the Mariners, and was a key aspect to the trade.

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