The Red Sox drafted 40 players over the course of last month's amateur draft. The club has already signed 23 of those players (three of whom are not yet official). The deadline to sign any remaining draftees is Friday, July 12, at 5:00 p.m. ET -- and Boston has roughly $1.3 million left to do so.
Last year, the 2012-2016 collective bargaining agreement established a signing bonus cap for each team to sign its draft picks. The cap sets an aggregate limit for a team to spend on its selections in the first 10 rounds and also limits teams from spending more than $100,000 on players taken after the 10th round (the excess on any late-round bonuses will count against the bonus cap).
Boston's cap is $6,830,200 this year. If the club exceeds its pool: (1) by 0-5 percent, it will be charged a 75 percent tax on the excess; (2) by 5-10 percent, it will pay the same tax and will also lose its first-round pick next season; (3) by 10-15 percent, it will be charged a 100 percent tax on the excess and lose its first- and second-round picks next season; and (4) by more than 15 percent, 100 percent tax on the excess and lose its next two first-round picks.
These are obviously harsh penalties, which make it highly unlikely that the Red Sox will go more than five percent over the pool limit. However, the team is likely willing to pay the requisite tax and go up to five percent over the cap, which would place the team's spending limit at about $7,171,710. The first $100,000 spent on any single bonus after Round 10 will not count against that cap. One other wrinkle to remember is that if Boston fails to sign any of its picks from the top 10 rounds, the team's bonus pool will be reduced by the amount of the slot amount for the unsigned player's draft position.
At present, the only unsigned player among Boston's top 10 rounds of draft picks is fourth-rounder Myles Smith, a 21-year-old right-hander out of Lee University. The bonus slot allotment for Smith's draft position is $454,800. If the Red Sox sign Smith, the club's bonus pool will remain as outlined above. However, if the team fails to sign Smith, its bonus pool will be decreased by $454,800. Moreover, for any amount that Boston is able to sign Smith below slot, its available funds will increase by that amount. For example, if Smith signs for $400,000, Boston will have an extra $54,800 to spend on other picks, bringing the available amount to roughly $1.35 million.
Here's a look at Boston's remaining unsigned draft picks:
The top targets
Fourth Round. Myles Smith, RHP, Lee University. A righty with a mid-90s fastball and a decent changeup, Smith has the option of returning to Lee for his senior season if he's unable to sign. There have been conflicting reports that Smith backed out of a pre-draft deal with the Sox, a contention which he refutes. The hope is that he will sign for slightly under slot to give the club some extra money to sign additional picks. A $400,000 deal seems like it would be reasonable for both sides. Smith was considered the 108th best player in the 2013 draft, according to Baseball America.
13. Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Tullahoma High School (Tenn.). Sheffield is the top remaining talent who has not publicly declared he won't be signing. The 18-year-old pitcher is committed to Vanderbilt in the fall but remains actively engaged in negotiations with the Red Sox. The nephew of former major leaguer Gary Sheffield, he underwent Tommy John surgery in April, which put his draft status in flux. Prior to surgery, he threw his fastball in the 94-95 mph range and topped out at 98 mph. He also mixes in a decent curveball and a workable changeup. He was considered the 88th-best player in the draft class by Baseball America, and the slot recommendation for the No. 88 overall pick is in the $550,000-$600,000 range. Might a bonus of $800,000 buy him out of his commitment to Vanderbilt?
The next tier
The below players could potentially command bonuses above $100,000, and perhaps upward of $400,000. As previously mentioned, the first $100,000 spent on each of these players would not count against Boston's draft cap. Ultimately, they might be able to strike a deal with the club after Boston has a better idea of the status of Smith and Sheffield.
30. Nick Longhi, OF, Venice High School (Fla.). Pegged as a potential fourth- or fifth-rounder, Longhi slipped to the 30th round, likely due to a strong commitment to LSU, one of the top programs in the nation. A corner outfielder with raw power potential, Longhi might be the next player the Red Sox look to once resolving negotiations with Smith and Sheffield. He might command fifth-round money or somewhere in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.
28. Nick Zammarelli, 3B, Lincoln Senior High School (R.I.). The 19-year-old infielder was one of the top prep players in New England in 2013. While he's a lifelong Red Sox fan, he's also committed to play for Elon University. His chances of signing are solid, but it will probably take more than $100,000.
25. Derik Beauprez, RHP, Cherry Creek High School (Colo.). An athletic right-hander committed to pitch for the University of Miami, Beauprez might be able to increase his draft stock after three years with the high-profile Hurricanes. But he's certainly a candidate to sign at the deadline.
27. Mark Nowaczewski, RHP, Reed High School (Nev.). A projectable righty who tops out in the mid-90s, Nowaczewski was considered the No. 440 player in the draft class by Baseball America. Like Beauprez, he might also benefit from some further development in college ball. He's committed to pitch for the University of Nevada, minutes from his hometown of Sparks.
The following players might sign but would likely not command bonuses much greater than $100,000, and therefore would not significantly affect the team's bonus pool.
26. Mauricio Dubon, SS, Capital Christian High School (Calif.) -- An athletic infielder originally from Honduras, Dubon has no known college commitment. He seems likely to sign and very excited to begin his professional career.
31. Ryan Rippee, 1B/OF, Jefferson College. The big first baseman has the option to return to junior college level Jefferson for his second season. There are unconfirmed reports that he has already decided not to sign.
33. Andrew Rosa, SS, Owasso High School (Okla.). Rosa has committed to play for Oklahoma State next season. It seems more likely than not that he will honor that commitment. He stands a decent chance of a higher draft slot, and a correspondingly higher bonus, in 2016.
36. Pat Goetze, RHP, Wake County Home School (N.C.). A 6-foot-6 righty, Goetze is committed to Louisburg [Junior] College. A home-schooled player, he gained experience with a local showcase team. He spent most of his senior season continuing to recover from March 2012 Tommy John surgery. He's committed to pitch for Louisburg College but is heavily weighing the option of turning pro.
37. Max Watt, RHP, Hillsborough Community College. At 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, Watt is worth watching on his size alone. He's eligible to return for another season at Hillsborough, for which he didn't post terribly impressive numbers (5.67 ERA) as a freshman reliever. A lifelong Yankees fan, Watt has publicly expressed sentiment about the possibility of signing with Boston.
40. Ryan Lidge, C, Barrington High School (Ill.). A solid defensive catcher and a 2013 Rawlings Central All-Region Second-Team selection, Lidge is committed to attend Notre Dame in the fall.
Unlikely to sign
20. Derek Burkamper, RHP, Muscatine High School (Iowa). The 18-year-old righty has indicated he has no intention of going pro this year. He will pitch for Nebraska in the fall. He was ranked as the No. 302 player in the draft class by Baseball America.
22. Ryan Boldt, CF, Red Wing High School (Minn.). Boldt is hands down the best talent left on the Red Sox board, having been largely considered a top-50 player in the draft class. Like Burkamper, the center fielder is committed to attend Nebraska. He was rumored to have demanded a $2 million bonus prior to the draft. He came to Boston to visit Fenway last week but has publicly stated that he has chosen Nebraska over Boston. He has the potential to develop into a high first-round pick in 2016.
23. Jimmy Allen, 2B, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. A junior at Cal Poly, Allen has indicated that he's leaning toward returning for his senior campaign with the Mustangs. A top-300 player, according to Baseball America, Allen would likely command a bonus more than $100,000. While he's in the "unlikely to sign" category, a last-minute signing is not totally out of the question.
32. Matt Thaiss, C, Jackson Memorial High School (N.J.). Thaiss is a solid defensive catcher with a very strong commitment to the University of Virginia. He was ranked as the No. 224 player in the draft class.
38. Trevor Morrison, SS, Archbishop Murphy High School (Wash.). Prior to the draft, Morrison publicly stated that he had every intention of honoring his commitment to Oregon State, so he was actually surprised when he was drafted at all. Ranked as the No. 139 draft prospect by Baseball America, Morrison's selection by Boston might have been more about building a relationship for the 2016 draft. That might also be the case for Burkamper, Boldt and Thaiss.