Red Sox penalized over 2015 international signings, what it means and what to know

July 2 is the annual beginning of baseball's international amateur free-agent signing period -- or that time of the year where teams hand out millions of dollars to teenagers from various Latin American countries. One team won't be participating, however, and that's the Red Sox, who were sanctioned on Friday for violations committed during the last international signing period.

Let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning this whole mess.

The Red Sox were barred on Friday from participating in this international free-agent signing period. USATSI

What did the Red Sox do wrong?

In the simplest terms, Boston gamed the system. (Or tried to, anyway.) Because the Red Sox had exceeded their allotted bonus cap the previous year, they were restricted on the highest amount they could pay to a single player. The Red Sox worked around this by signing players to so-called "package deals," according to Ben Badler. (Badler is the industry's leader on all things international.) Essentially, the Red Sox signed multiple players who shared an agent, then had the agent redistribute the wealth among the players. By doing this, the Red Sox were able to sign players whose market value exceeded their league-imposed spending cap. Here's what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported:

What are the penalties?

So far, baseball has handed down two penalties, per Buster Olney. First, the Red Sox won't be able to partake in this year's signing window. Second, and perhaps just as importantly depending on your perspective,

the five players who baseball identified as being involved in these underhanded deals have had their contracts voided

-- meaning, essentially that they're free to sign with whomever.

Are any of the affected players any good?

Yes, otherwise the Red Sox wouldn't have bothered. Outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti are regarded as the best prospects involved. Baseball America ranked them as the 15th- and 24th-best international prospects prior to last July's signing window.

What about the players who intended to sign with the Red Sox this period?

Unfortunately, they're collateral damage. Those players will have to pursue other opportunities.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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