The Oakland Athletics have acquired right-handed pitcher Rodolfo Fernandez from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for an international bonus slot, the teams have announced. The Brewers receive international bonus slot no. 57, which carries an assigned value of $339,000.
Fernandez, a 24-year-old reliever out of Cuba, has a 2.87 ERA and 1.79 K/BB in just over 31 innings with the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season, after posting a 2.35 ERA in 61.1 innings for the club last year. He's likely nothing more than organizational depth.
The deal has a much larger impact for the Brewers, who are set on acquiring additional bonus pool money to sign Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara without suffering from the ramifications (which you can find here) of going over their allotted pool.
Gilbert Lara money RT @susanslusser Athletics traded International Slot #57, worth $339,000, to Brewers for pitcher Rodolfo Fernandez.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 7, 2014
Lara, ranked by Baseball America as the fifth best international prospect for this year's July 2nd signing period, has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Brewers worth $3 to $3.2 million, which would blow away their original bonus pool of $2,611,800. By adding Oakland's slot, they raise their allotment to $2,950,800, which is still just under $250,000 short of Lara's reported bonus and would put them 8.4% over their pool, prohibiting them from signing a player for more than $500,000 during next year's signing period.
Milwaukee may not be done adding to their pool, as teams are allowed to trade for as much as 50% of their original allotment. The Brewers are also seeking additional money to sign more than just Lara, enabling them to boost a farm system that many evaluators rate as one of the worst in baseball.
Oakland hasn't been particularly active on the international market so far this year, so it's understandable why they'd be so willing to give up a valuable bonus slot for an organizational reliever. Oakland is one of just three teams that has yet to officially sign an international player this period (which started last week), joining the Reds and Brewers (who obviously already have an agreement in place with Lara).