Atlanta Braves: Previewing the international free agent market
One of the weird changes that has happened in recent years because of COVID is that the international free agent market, which the Atlanta Braves can now fully participate in, now opens up on January 15th and runs through December 15th, 2023. While the change from the normal July 2 start date has been jarring, it does give us something to talk about during the dead period between the wane of free agency and the start of spring training.
Below is a quick primer on international free agency and specifically what we can expect from the Braves.
Atlanta Braves International Bonus Pool
For the 2022-23 international free agent signing period, the Braves will have a bonus pool of $5,284,000 which is the base amount for teams that do not have competitive balance picks in the MLB draft. Atlanta is in a group of 10 teams total that have this amount in their bonus pools.
There are another 13 teams that have more in their pools because they do have competitive balance picks with the amount depending on where their CB picks are in the draft. The largest pool amount in this year is $6,366,900 which eight different teams have.
If a team signs a player that rejected a qualifying offer, they do lose IFA pool money with the Red Sox, Angels, Phillies, Dodgers, and Rangers being in that group.
Who are the Atlanta Braves going to sign?
The Braves have historically been active in the international free agent market when, well, they have been allowed to be. Atlanta re-entered the free agent market in a big way last year when they signed a stellar class including headliner Diego Benitez. At first glance, it does not appear that the Braves are going quite as big this year, although they do appear to be expected to sign highly ranked outfielder Luis Guanipa.
There does seem to be some disparity on how highly Guanipa is ranked based on the publication, but Baseball America expects the Venezuelan outfielder to sign for a bonus that should rank in the top 10 in the class. Guanipa isn’t the biggest guy, but he has a tantalizing combination of power and athleticism that should project well down the road. Depending on how his arm plays, he could very well stick in center field with his top end speed, although the Braves are pretty clearly buying into his upside at the plate regardless of where he ends up playing.
What about the international draft?
One area of contention in the most recent CBA negotiations was the imposition of an international draft. Everyone seems to agree that the current system that is rife with early handshake deals and corruption is not great, but the parameters of an international draft was a source of great disagreement.
The two sides kicked the can down the road during the negotiations by agreeing that if they could agree to an international draft by last July, that the qualifying offer system would be scrapped. However, the deadline passed with no agreement on an international draft, so the qualifying offer system stayed and such a system remains in limbo.