MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers traded Class A right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez to the A's on Monday in a deal that moved Milwaukee closer to signing Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara to the richest international contract in club history.
The Brewers and Lara already have an preliminary agreement for $3.1-$3.2 million, though the club has yet to confirm the agreement or finalize the contract because it would face penalties for exceeding its original international bonus pool of $2,611,800. Teams are allowed to increase their pool by as much as 50 percent by acquiring portions of other teams' allotments, which is exactly what happened Monday afternoon.
In return for Fernandez, the Brewers received international signing bonus slot No. 57, with a value of $339,000. It boosted Milwaukee's total bonus pool for international deals to $2,950,800 -- still shy of Lara's club-record-shattering bonus.
Barring additional trades, the Brewers could face penalties for exceeding their pool. Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax on the overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent pay the tax, plus are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period in addition to paying the tax, and teams that exceed the pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods in addition to the tax.
Once a team exceeds its pool, it cannot make additional trades for slot dollars. So the Lara deal could remain in administrative limbo for some time.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.