The Tigers aren’t used to drafting on the cheap. But they did this year.
Baseball America just released its report on all the 2011 draft bonuses — and of a record $228,009,050 spent by the 30 major league ballclubs, the Tigers are responsible for barely 1 percent, or $2,878,700, to be exact.
Detroit spent more on 2011 draft bonuses than just one other team, the White Sox, who doled out $2,786,300.
For Chicago, this isn’t new. For Detroit, it is. General manager Dave Dombrowski has authorized his scouting staff to draft aggressively and pay just as aggressively in recent years. For instance, according to Baseball America, the Tigers paid out $7.3 million in bonuses last year, and $9.4 million in 2009. Combined in 2009-11, they’ve spent $19.6 million, which despite this year’s small payout still ranks 14th in the majors.
This year, though, they spent less on the entire class than they did on one pick last year — third-base prospect Nick Castellanos, who, as the 44th overall pick, had a $3.45 million payday.
Of course, the Tigers didn’t have a first-round pick this summer because they forfeited that to the Red Sox when they signed designated hitter/catcher Victor Martinez. They didn’t have a supplemental-round pick, either, because they didn’t lose any significant free agents last offseason.
Their highest pick was catcher James McCann, in the second round, 76th overall.
While the Tigers spent less than they’re used to, they did keep one tradition alive — to the disgust, we’re sure, of Bud Selig. They again paid over the slot recommendation at least twice, with McCann ($558,000) and 15th-round pick Tyler Gibson ($525,000), an infielder/outfielder who fell so far in the draft because it was assumed he was heading to Georgia Tech.
According to Baseball America, each team signed at least one player to more than what Selig’s guidelines call for. That also happened in 2009.
The biggest bonus was $8 million, to right-hander Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick by the Pirates.
Here’s the link to Baseball America’s report.