So … we’re back. Still mostly confused.

Last year when A.J. Preller took over as GM, he inherited a roster with a slight logjam at catcher. There was Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal at the major-league level, and Austin Hedges waiting on the farm. Then, like 17 trades later, the Padres had a more manageable logjam: Derek Norris as the main guy with Tim Federowicz as the (soon-to-be-injured) backup, and Hedges still on the farm. Rocky Gale‘s always around.

You wanna talk about logjams? Check out the current catcher situation. After a solid season, Norris is still the main guy. Hedges, who was called up last year, is also there and so is new guy Josmil Pinto. That’s a lot of catchers; certainly don’t need anymore, no no.

Oh, okay. Another catcher. That’s interesting.

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Last Wednesday the July 2nd international signing period began, allowing major league teams to bid millions of dollars on the futures of 16- and 17-year-old kids. An article from MLB.com explains the details:

A 16-year-old international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.

The 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement, like it did for the stateside draft, introduced international spending pools for MLB teams based on each team’s previous year record. This year, for example, the Houston Astros have just over $5 million to spend internationally while the St. Louis Cardinals, at the other end up the spectrum, have just $1,866,300 in their pool. The San Diego Padres, near the middle of the pack, have a $2,531,200 spending budget for the 2014-15 signing period.

Here are a few developing storylines, both across the league and specifically for the Padres.

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