I’m a little late on this, but the Blue Jays dealt Dwight Smith Jr. to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday afternoon in exchange for International Bonus Pool space. In essence, the Jays and Orioles swapped two things they weren’t going to use. Smith was recently designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Clay Buchholz, so this is better than simply losing him for nothing on waivers.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 8, 2019
Before you scoff at trading away a real player for cash and make your CHEAP SHATKINS GRABBING MONEY FOR ROGER’S joke, this is actually the Jays trading for the right to spend more money than their competitors on the international free agent market.
Much like the draft, teams can only throw out so much signing bonus money to international free agents…
As per the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs are each subject to a spending cap for amateur international free agents. Each club will have at least a $4.75 million bonus pool to spend, with those that have a pick in Competitive Balance Round A receiving $5.25 million and those with a pick in Competitive Balance Round B receiving $5.75 million.
Having an extra $500k to throw around could be the difference between outbidding opponents for a Vlad Jr. (he was signed for $3.9 million back in 2015) or an Eric Pardinho (he was signed for $1.7 million back in 2017).
So, ultimately, the Jays managed to turn a non-prospect into the ability to potentially grab a new prospect. I know it isn’t overly exciting, but it’s better than nothing. The Orioles, for whatever reason, are allergic to signing international free agents, and the Jays felt they didn’t have space for a 26-year-old corner outfielder.