Brewers to have third-lowest draft bonus pool in MLB | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

When the Brewers signed free agent Kyle Lohse, much was made about the team giving up its 17th overall pick to do so. The less-reported (and more damaging) penalty for signing a free agent attached to draft compensation, though, is the loss of pool money associated with the surrendered pick.

The Brewers gave up their first round pick to get Lohse, but they also forfeited $2.1 million from their own pool (and as a result, gave the Cardinals extra pool money, thanks to their new compensation pick at 28th overall). Today, we got a better picture on just how much the signing hurt the Brewers when it comes to this year’s draft, with Baseball America showing the draft bonus pools available to every team.

After signing Lohse, the Brewers’ pool is down to $3,944,600 to spend on 10 picks. That total — and the $394,000+ per pick average — rank third-to-last in the majors. Only the Angels (who signed Josh Hamilton) and the Nationals (who signed Rafael Soriano) have less to spend this year. The Astros, holding the top pick again, will have the most to spend, at nearly $1.2 million per pick.

The Brewers won’t have their first pick of the draft until 54th overall, thanks to the supplemental compensation round and the first round of Competitive Balance Lottery picks. Just for the sake of showing how bad the compensation system is, the Yankees will pick three times — all in the top 33 picks — before the Brewers make their first selection. They’ll make their second pick at 73rd overall in the second round of lottery picks, and their third pick will be made at #90.

It’s not like the Brewers can spend late to make up the difference, either. If they were to give any pick after the 10th round a bonus of $100,000 or more, that would also have to come out of the draft pool. The pool number isn’t necessarily a hard cap, but it might as well be — if a team goes 10% over budget, they’ll forfeit their first round pick the next season. If they’re 15% over, they lose both their first and second round picks the next year. Saying “screw the system” and going 20% means forfeiting your first round pick for the next two seasons.

Mark Attanasio showed faith in Bruce Seid & Co. to make good later-round picks in a recent Q&A with the Journal-Sentinel. If the Brewers are going to make significant gains in the farm system this year, they’re going to have to hit on those picks more than once.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Matt T says: April 2, 2013

    What kills me about all of this is that teams like Miami are allowed to not spend and are not punished, while a team like Milwaukee trys to stay as competitive as they can and are punished. The enacted all of this “competitive balance” crap to make it fair for us small-market teams, but don’t actually give the small-market teams any advantage tied to how small their market is (and thusly, their resources).

    The only way to reap the rewards of the new system is, ironically, for the small-maket team to actively NOT be competitive.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: April 2, 2013

      Right on! I’m so annoyed about the ability of larger markets to simply hand out arbitration offers. What do the Yankees care if all of their pending free agents sign 1-year, $13 million deals? They can make that decision a lot easier than the Brewers.

  2. D-Rock says: April 2, 2013

    I’m not really up to speed on the whole draft/trade/free agency/waivers arrangement. In fact, the way they change the rules so regularly, it’s like an IT department has formed a cricket team that subsequently starts a Voodou circle. In Greek. Laconic even, instead of Koine.

    My question is this: What is likely to happen to the Brewers pool when we spin Cory Hart off in a season or two? Or, what if we are blessed with an abundance of starters (unlikely), and we trade off one of the younger members of our pitching staff?

    • Bob says: April 3, 2013

      If we tender Hart, he turns it down, and then he signs with another team we would get a comp. pick – just like STL gets this year for Lohse.

      Trading players away does nothing for your draft pool.

  3. R says: April 2, 2013

    By this logic, we should’ve been swimming in money after losing Prince Fielder, Shaun Marcum, and Zack Greinke. This just prevents small market teams like the Brewers and the Royals from actively getting better because they already have no money to begin with.

    • Bob says: April 3, 2013

      We got two picks for Prince, that we used on Clint Coulter and Mitch Haniger.

      We did not tender Marcum, so we did not get anything in return for him.

      We traded Greinke and got Jean Segura, John Hellwig, and Ariel Pena.


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