The Cincinnati Reds will have just over $13.6 million to spend on their draftees this June, the second largest MLB Draft bonus pool of all the 30 franchises. While that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise - the Reds will be picking second overall on draft day - it was just last year that Cincinnati also had the #2 overall selection yet laid claim to the single largest bonus pool thanks to some mitigating factors.
As Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper broke down in detailed fashion, there are a number of other differences in the overall draft/sign process from last year, as parts of it were altered as part of the offseason CBA negotiations. Chief among those is that the slot amounts at the top of the draft have been reduced to be more in-line with the picks directly behind them, meaning the Reds will have, in theory, less overall money to use towards signing whomever they draft. However, Cooper also notes how seldom teams at the top have actually used all their slot money to sign the players selected there - if you’ll remember, Nick Senzel signed for significantly less than his top slot value just last year - so this likely won’t have such a huge impact.
Overall, the Reds’ Rule 4 Draft amount of $13,658,400 is less than last year’s $13,923,700 in part due to that slot reduction. Pair this year’s draft pool amount with the $5.25 million they’ve been allotted for their international bonus pool, and they’ll have $18,908,400 to spend on all amateur signings this year, which is down from the $19,087,100 they had to spend last year. Of course, the nature of how they spend that international money will be significantly different than in 2016, since the signings of Alfredo Rodriguez and Vlad Gutierrez blew past Cincinnati’s allotted amount last year, which netted them the penalty of not being able to sign any international free agent for more than $300K in 2017. (There’s also a hard cap on that $5.25 million this year as opposed to the more flexible, free-spend inducing cap numbers from previous years.)
In all, it’s ample money to put towards investing in the team’s future. If everything continues to break well, there’s a chance you could view these dollars and the 2017 #2 overall draftee as the final piece of the long, dark rebuild the Cincinnati Reds have been wading through since 2014.