Did Cards/Morales Leave Enough for Bellinger?

The St. Louis Cardinals' financial flexibility for their final remaining unsigned draftees is becoming clearer.

Early Saturday morning, MLB.com reported that the St. Louis Cardinals have come to terms with their second second-round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Andrew Morales. The 71st overall selection, a senior from the University of California at Irvine, reportedly will receive a signing bonus of $546,100 once he passes a physical examination next week.

This past week, Morales' Anteaters club was eliminated in the College World Series in Omaha. He finished his season with a strikeout to walk count of 141 to 33 and an ERA of 1.53 in 135 2/3 innings on the mound. Learn more about Morales here.

With the signing, the Cardinals will have 11 of their 12 top 10 round picks committed and 27 of 42 draftees in total. The lone early player taken to not sign is third-rounder Trevor Megill, who has informed the organization that he will be returning to college for his senior season.

With all the bonus amounts for the top 10 rounders now known, we can easily see how much the Cardinals would most likely offer their 11th-round pick (or any combination of later players). The most intriguing unsigned player is first baseman Justin Bellinger, who could instead pass on St. Louis' offer and honor his commitment to attend Duke.

For any players signed after the 10th round, individual bonus amounts over $100,000 will apply against the team's cap total.

Of the 11 top ten round players already signed by the Cardinals, only one received over slot, Jack Flaherty. Four others signed at slot. Six others accepted less than their slot amounts with those "savings" adding up to $281,000.

In addition, the Cardinals could overspend their total by up to five percent before being penalized by the loss of a 2015 draft pick. They would only pay a financial tax back to MLB. Removing Megill's bonus amount from the slot total, the additional five percent could add another $329,140 to the amount that could be deployed.

Adding the two amounts together, the fund grows to $610,140. Because the first $100,000 to a signee is not taxed, that means the Cards could offer Bellinger slightly over $700,000.

Round Name Pick value Signed plus/minus
1-27 Weaver $1,843,000 $1,843,000 $0
1-33 Flaherty $1,650,400 $2,000,000 ($349,600)
2-68 Williams $833,900 $833,900 $0
2-71 Morales $796,100 $546,100 $250,000
3 Megill $504,400    
4 Gomber $374,100 $374,100 $0
5 Seferina $280,100 $200,000 $80,100
6 Sohn $209,700 $209,700 $0
7 O'Keefe $163,200 $150,000 $13,200
8 Thompson $152,400 $135,000 $17,400
9 Poncedeleon $142,300 $5,000 $137,300
10 Diekroeger $137,600 $5,000 $132,600
    $7,087,200   $281,000
plus10 rdrs > $100K Not in totals Not in totals  
11 Bellinger     $0
14 Shaw     $0
15 Ditman     $0
1-10 pool   $7,087,200 $6,301,800  
1-10-rd 3   $6,582,800    
105% total   $6,911,940    
"extra"   $329,140    
+/- all       $281,000
no pick loss       $610,140

As a point of comparison, last season, St. Louis overspent just under the five percent, a total of $750,000, on three players signed after the 10th round. 11th-round pitcher Steven Farinaro received $750,000 to pass up attending UCLA, of which $650,000 was applied against the cap. Outfielders Ricardo Bautista (12th) and DeAndre Asbury (15th) each received $150,000, or $50,000 taxable each.

Will Bellinger accept $700,000? Would the Cards offer that much or hold a bit back to try to land 14th rounder, juco catcher Chris Shaw or 15th rounder, junior right-handed pitcher Mark Ditman as well? (Read more about Bellinger, Shaw and Ditman here.)

We shall see by the July 17 signing deadline.

For more information

To see which drafted players are signed and which are not at any time over the upcoming days and weeks, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. All signed players have been assigned to team rosters there and here on the main site now that short-season minor league clubs are set.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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