The Royals will begin their rebuild with the second-most money to spend on amateur talent in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. Baseball limits the amount teams can spend on both the amateur draft and in the international free agent market, and the Royals will be allowed to spend over $18 million on players this summer.
The Royals will have the biggest draft bonus pool for the June amateur draft, due to the compensatory picks they will receive at the end of the first round for the loss of Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain. In addition to those picks and the 18th overall pick as a result of their place in the standings, the Royals will also receive a competitive balance pick at the end of the first round. In all, the Royals will have four of the top 40 picks in the draft - #18, #33, #34, and #40.
The draft bonus pool is determined by assigning a bonus value for each draft place. The assigned slots for the first ten rounds are totaled up to determine the pool. Teams can pay over slot for any individual draft pick but may not exceed their overall draft bonus pool without incurring a penalty. By having such a large bonus pool, the Royals can be more creative with their picks, paying well overslot for one player so long as they go well underslot for a later draftee.
2018 Amateur bonus pool amounts
The Royals will be allowed to spend just over $5.5 million on international amateur talent beginning this July. Teams not in the competitive balance pool are authorized to spend $4.983 million, but smaller market teams in the competitive balance pool can spend more. Teams can also trade international pool amounts, and certain teams can be forced to forfeit some pool amounts for signing Major League free agents.
The Royals had been penalized the last two summer for going over their international bonus pool in 2015. Their penalty forced them to spend no more than $300,000 on any international free agent the past two years. According to MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez, they are expected to be “very active” in the market and have already been linked to Dominican shortstop Wilmin Candelario. The Royals have already signed pitcher Yefri del Rosario for $650,000 and outfielder Juan Negret, players in the Braves organization made free agents after MLB penalized that organization. Those bonuses were allowed to be applied to the 2018-2019 signing period.
With a farm system regarded as one of the worst in baseball, the Royals will have their work cut out for them in building it back up. But at least they will have ample opportunity to replenish the pipeline.