The Red Sox are still in the penalty on the international free agent market thanks to a signing period that brought them both Anderson Espinoza and Yoan Moncada, but not to worry: they still have plenty of money to spend and players to spend it on. International signing budgets for the 2016-2017 free agent period, beginning July 2, have been released, and the Red Sox have the 12th-highest at $2,783,800, according to Baseball America.
Need a refresher on just what the penalties the Sox are enduring are? They can only sign players to a max bonus of $300,000, which means they won't be able to do what they did when they got Espinoza, which was to sign the top pitcher on the entire market for a number that nearly matched their allotted budget on its own. However, look no further than the 2015-2016 signing period for proof that a $300,000 max offer doesn't have to mean there are no worthwhile prospects to be had. Baseball America noted that the Sox signed two of their top-30 prospects -- Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti, numbers 15 and 24 on the list, respectively -- out of Venezuela for that $300,000 max offer they could make.
So, there's hope for a similar trick to be pulled again, and then for the 2017-2018 period, the Sox will be able to go all-out once more with whatever bonuses they choose to hand out. On top of that, the Sox will have Espinoza and Moncada already in the system and that much closer to the majors. The plan to go big then lay low for two years seems to be working out.
If the Sox can't use up all of their budget, they could also use some of the signing slots to make some trades with teams who need some extra cash in their own allotment. This isn't a necessity by any means -- teams are only going to get so much out of a little international cash here and there -- but it's another option if Boston ends up with leftover money. If they act like they did during the last signing period, though, they won't, as the Sox signed 45 players, eight of them for the $300,000 max. That's most of the budget right there.
This is all a guessing game until we get closer to July 2, of course. While the Sox are surely getting secret commitments right now, so they know what things will look like in July, specifics for those deals won't leak for some time. And since the Sox aren't going to sign anyone for more than $300,000, we might not even hear about them until it's actually July 2. Just know that the penalty hasn't kept them from participating in the proceedings in a productive way, though, and that this upcoming period is the last time they'll need to get creative.
Well, until after they go huge on the 2017-2018 signing period, anyway.