With the deadline for MLB draftees to sign just a couple of weeks away, we’re getting a better idea of what NC State’s baseball team will look like next season. It won’t have third baseman Evan Mendoza, who signed with St. Louis earlier this week. It also won’t have shortstop Joe Dunand or catcher Andy Cosgrove, both of whom recently signed.
I have not been able to find bonus numbers for either of them, but the slot value for Dunand is north of $1.3 million, and it’s certainly possible that the Miami Marlins threw in a few hundred grand on top of that to make sure he didn’t waver.
Cosgrove (17th round pick), who is now a Minnesota Twin (gross), probably received a bonus similar to Mendoza’s (11th), which was $150,000. For players drafted after the 10th round, any amount teams spend over $125,000 counts against their allotted bonus pools.
If you are not familiar with the overly quarrellous and complicated nature of the MLB Draft bonus structure—and lord willing, most of you aren’t—you might wonder why guys like Mendoza or Cosgrove aren’t more inclined to return to school and try to improve their value.
But in baseball, having that leverage of one more year of college means a lot, and for most kids, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll improve their financial lot with another year of college. A senior from Arkansas State signed for $2,500 this year—which is not atypical. Teams have only a finite number of dollars to spend on the draft, and if they exceed that allotted amount, they face tax penalties.
So they save money on seniors because they can because those kids have zero leverage, and they then take that savings and apply it to bonuses for more high-value picks, like high school players and early-round draft picks.
For guys like Mendoza and Cosgrove, signing now is probably nets them at least $100,000 more than they would get this time next year, assuming they don’t magically morph into crazy-good baseball players in the span of one season. It’s just the way this thing works under the current framework.
Anyway, I wish these kids the best at the next level. Mendoza has already made his pro debut in the Cardinals’ system, and I’m sure the starts for Dunand and Cosgrove aren’t far behind.