Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Astros have just under $5m to spend internationally

In addition to having the largest bonus pool available for the draft, thanks to that whole Worst Team of 2012 thing, the Astros also have the largest bonus pool available for signing international free agents, according to Baseball America.

As BA mentions in the opening paragraphs, these aren't yet hard numbers - they'll be finalized in the next few weeks - but the Astros will have in the neighborhood of $4,943,700 to spend on free agents. The Cubs (29th-worst team in baseball) have $4,557,200, and the number dwindles until you get to the Nationals' $1,846,900 bonus pool. This is in addition to the $11,698,800 the Astros will have available in the June Amateur Draft - over $1m more than the Cubs (and just under $9m more than the Nationals have to spend).

And this is where we need to watch closely. You don't have to be Ken Rosenthal to know that the Astros aren't spending much on the major-league product in 2013. But where we'll see improvement is how they allocate their resources for signing amateurs. If they spend right up to the limit on their bonus pool in both the draft and the international signing period, then we can all rest a little easier that they're telling the truth and focusing on development. If, however, they spend $18.42 on a 41-year old pitcher out of Haiti and a cigar, then we can cry (as if we're not crying enough for now, anyway).

Luhnow & Co. knocked it out of the park in the 2012 draft, so let's see what happens this year.