The cat’s out of the bag: Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer love going over their international prospect signing allowance.
Way, way over.
The Chicago Cubs have announced bonuses for six international prospects: outfielder Yonathan Sierra Estiwal ($2.5 million), shortstops Aramis Ademan ($2 million) and Yonathan Perlaza ($1.3 million); catcher Miguel Amaya ($1.25 million), infielder Christopher Martinez ($1 million), and right handed pitcher Yunior Perez ($600k).
Given that the team’s allowance is $3.23 million, which is based on the team’s record last season, the Cubs spent more than double ($7.65 million), resulting in all kinds of financial havoc. Per MLB Trade Rumors, this means the Cubs are unable to give out any $300k+ bonuses across the next two seasons, and get hit with a tax of 100% on the overage amount. They could theoretically trade for more bonus slots to offset some of the overage amount.
This isn’t the first time Epstein has opted for this route. In 2013, the Cubs unloaded their wallet on Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Jefferson Mejia, Erling Moreno, and Jen-Ho Tseng shortly after the international signing period opened. Last season saw a dip in number given the overage penalties, but the Cubs stilled signed several prospects to smaller bonuses.
Not only have the Cubs shown willingness to incur the penalties for overspending, but with a team looking to be on the cusp of being competitive for the long haul, it makes sense to blow out the budget now, because as the Cubs’ record improves, their international signing allowance will continue to dwindle
We’ll update with any additional signings.