Atlanta Braves Interest Level in Luis Robert Could be a Math Lesson

Dec 3, 2016; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; The ashes of Cuban president Fidel Castro pass through Cespedes Park in Santiago de Cuba where he declared victory on Jan. 1, 1959. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK
Dec 3, 2016; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; The ashes of Cuban president Fidel Castro pass through Cespedes Park in Santiago de Cuba where he declared victory on Jan. 1, 1959. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY NETWORK /
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Aug 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders autograph a calendar for Lori Dobrisky (right) and Shannon Dubrisky (center) before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders autograph a calendar for Lori Dobrisky (right) and Shannon Dubrisky (center) before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /

Calendar Urgency… or Lag

Robert can sign a contract on May 20th.  If June rolls around and he remains unsigned, then no one can sign him until the July 2 opening day of the next International signing season.

That would bring in a lot of teams currently sitting on the sidelines – including some “money” teams like the Yankees, who will be emerging from their 2-year penalty.

But thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, that won’t matter.  In fact, the Yankees ($4.75m) will have less available to spend than many other teams.

Under those provisions, a few teams have a $5.75 million spending pool.  You may (via trade) acquire up to 75% more spending power, so the absolute maximum contract anyone could offer Robert in July is $10.06 million… but that would be for him alone, and most teams need at least a handful of signees just to fill out their Dominican Summer League teams.

Of course, as Badler pointed out in his video message, probably 98% of International deals for July have already been made, so that works strongly against Robert’s cause.

Plus, you need a trading partner to even make $10.06 million available and that could be difficult – never mind that you’d lose other players to gain just one.

So the only way Robert might chance waiting until July 2nd to sign is if he is low-balled by all of the competing clubs named above.

All indications are that this won’t happen.  But it does limit him to just those teams we’ve discussed.

More Calendar considerations.

The same reason Badler cited for 2017-2018-eligible teams not getting on this race is actually a factor of the past for the Braves/Padres/Cards/Astros/Reds/etc.

Teams make agreements early with their signees for many reasons, but one of them involves their budgets.  The Braves planned to spend $27 million Internationally over the past 10 months.  The Padres planned to spend… well, maybe a bit less, but they’ve already added a recent Cuban escapee since the main signing period passed.

Teams allow for contingencies, but this is kind of like you or I budgeting for monthly car payments, but then seeing the vehicle’s transmission fail.

Repairs on this car might be within that contingency fund, but it also might be at the cost of that entire ‘rainy day fund’.

In this metaphor, Robert is probably the equivalent of a couple of transmissions.

Teams thus plan for certain International teens to sign, but the Cubans are a total wild card to the process since they are available at random times with random skills.

Thus I would not be surprised if Oakland, Cincy, or the Astros didn’t bow out of the Robert negotiations since these teams have already spent extra on Cubans over the past 6 months.

Then there is the penalty on top of his contract… we’ll get to that, too.

BOTTOM LINE

There is urgency for the signee, so that should reduce his leverage and serve to lower his bonus amount.  There is also the fact that teams will have to dig into reserves to afford Robert.  Both factors work against Robert since there’s no Red Sox club involved.