The Indians have agreed to signing bonus terms with most of their draft picks through the 10th round. Two players remain unsigned: 1st round pick Brady Aiken and competitive balance pick Triston McKenzie... the team top two draftees.
Juan Hillman, the team's 2nd round pick, signed for $825,000, which is a pretty penny to be sure, but is also more than $200,000 below the slot value of his draft pick. Of the nine players whose signing bonuses have been announced, seven of them were below slot, and two were at exactly slot.
What does that all mean? It means the Indians have saved up a lot of additional money so that they can go over slot to sign Aiken and/or McKenzie.
Here's a full run down on the players involved, and what we know so far:
|Round (Pick)||Player||Position||Slot Value||Signing Bonus||Difference|
|1 (17)||Brady Aiken||LHP||$2,393, 600|
|CB (42)||Triston McKenzie||RHP||$1,468,400|
|2 (59)||Juan Hillman||LHP||$1,041,900||$825,000||-$216,000|
|3 (93)||Mark Mathias||2B||$617,100||$550,000||-$67,100|
|4 (124)||Tyler Krieger||SS||$452,400||$400,000||-$52,400|
|5 (154)||Ka'Ai Tom||OF||$338,700||$250,000||-$88,700|
|6 (184)||Jonas Wyatt||RHP||$253,700||$253,700||$0|
|7 (214)||Nathan Lukes||OF||$190,100||$130,000||-$60,100|
|8 (244)||Justin Garza||RHP||$169,900||$169,900||$0|
|9 (274)||Devon Stewart||RHP||$158,700||$5,000||-$153,700|
|10 (304)||Williams Strode||LHP||$149,700||$5,000||-$144,700|
As you can see, the combined savings to this point amount to nearly $800,000.
Teams are allowed to go over slot for all of their draft picks, but if the combined signing bonuses add up to more than the combined slot value of those picks, the team pays a tax. If they exceed the combined slot value by more than 5%, they forfeit picks in the next draft. In short: The Indians might go over, but aren't going to go over by 5% or more. (Meaning they might go over, but not by more than $361,699.)
If they signed McKenzie for slot, the savings could be applied entirely to Aiken, and he could be paid the slot value of the #11 pick. (He was taken at #17.) If they signed Aiken for slot, the savings could be applied entirely to McKenzie, and he could be paid the slot value of the #21 pick. (He was taken at #42.) The savings could also be split between the two players. Or perhaps the Indians will sign both of them at slot value, and just save the extra money.
The Indians have done a great job of positioning themselves to sign their two most talented picks, and I expect both Aiken and McKenzie will sign before too long.