At 9AM ET today, the international signing period begins and teams will be able to use their pool money to sign international free agents. This is anomaly that teams face in acquiring players with the absence of an international draft.
Major league teams have several different methods they must use to acquire players from outside of the United States. Players from Puerto Rico, for example, are included in the draft. 2012’s #1 overall draft pick was Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico. Players from Japan have to get posted. But the players from countries that don’t have their own protocol with MLB are included in the international signing period. One notable country that falls into this category is Cuba, where Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes are from.
Since the latest collective bargaining agreement went into effect, teams have been given pool money to spend on international free agents. This year, that pool money for each team is based on its record from last year. The Astros have the most money to spend ($4,943,700) and the Nationals have the least ($1,846,900).
Ben Badler of Baseball America is all over the international free agent action and he has a table of each club’s pool money here. And you can follow his coverage on the International section of Baseball America here.