Teams are limited to a yearly “bonus pool” of what each can spend on international free-agent prospects, based on the previous season’s order of finish. The pool consists of a $700,000 base amount for each team plus the combined total of four assigned slot values ranging on a scale from 1 to 120.

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An overlooked aspect of the Mariners trading center fielder Austin Jackson to the Chicago Cubs for a player-to-be named was the dollar amount also received.

Not just cash, but $211,100 in international “slot’’ value, the trading of which is becoming an important strategy for teams on the international market.

Teams are limited to a yearly “bonus pool” of what each can spend on international free-agent prospects, based on the previous season’s order of finish. The pool consists of a $700,000 base amount for each team plus the combined total of four assigned slot values ranging on a scale from 1 to 120.

Slot values are awarded in similar fashion to a four-round draft. Last year’s worst team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, got the highest slots at No. 1, 31, 61 and 91, while the MLB-leading Los Angeles Angels received the lowest slots at No. 30, 60, 90 and 120.

The higher the slot, the more pool space value it has. Teams can trade these slots, but instead of shipping cash they are giving the deal recipient more financial room to sign players within their international bonus pools.

When this year’s international signing period began July 2 – with the latest 16-year-old Dominicans, Venezuelans, Cubans and others becoming eligible — the Mariners, based on finishing 11th overall last year, had slots No. 20 ($598,300), 50 ($404,100), 80 ($272,900) and 110 ($175,000) for a combined $1,450,300 value. Added to their $700,000 base amount, it gave them $2,150,300 in their total international spending pool.

They could have spent it all on a single player, or spread it over multiple signings.

But teams exceeding their limit pay a 100 percent overage penalty on every dollar beyond.

Also, teams going more than 5 percent over are limited the following year to spending no more than $500,000 on any one international player. Go 10 to15 percent over, the penalty becomes a $300,000 single-player spending limit.

Teams more than 15 percent over will face that $300,000 single-player limit for two years.

With top international prospects garnering $1 million and higher, teams limited to offering $500,000 or $300,000 will be out of luck. So, there’s incentive to stay within the rules.

But not all teams do.

Some will smash well beyond pool limits to acquire the very best talent, gladly paying overage fees and suffering through penalty restrictions in coming years. These teams, knowing they’re going to be penalized, will then trade away “slot values” for additional players since they don’t need the financial room anymore.

That’s what happened in the Jackson trade.

The Cubs were lousy last season, so they had a higher international spending pool of $3,227,700, including the $700,000 base amount and slot values at No. 8 ($1,527,700), 38 ($472,700), 68 ($319,200) and 98 ($211,100).

It was that No. 98 overall, worth $211,100, that the Mariners acquired for Jackson.

And that should come in handy, since the Mariners were pushing their $2.15 million pool limit by signing three Dominicans: shortstop Carlos Vargas for a reported $1.7 million, catcher Daniel Santos for $110,000 and pitcher Ivan Fortunato for an undisclosed amount in early July.

So, the Jackson deal gives them another $211,100 of room to avoid blowing their limit.

The Cubs, on the other hand, blew multiple times beyond their limit by spending $9 million on six top players the first day of signings.

They’ll get the full penalty no matter what and don’t need their $2.5 million in slot value space. Dealing that space lessens their pool limit even more – increasing the penalty amount they’ll have to pay – but it’s worth it for the right deal.

They’ll pay another $211,110 in penalties for trading that fourth slot to the Mariners. But that’s a relative pittance to land Jackson for a playoff run.

The Dodgers also spent well beyond their bonus pool, then traded their four slots to Toronto and Atlanta. That adds another $1.3 million to the Dodgers’ overage penalties, but they got four minor league players in trade returns for that price.

Ben Badler of Baseball America noted the Blue Jays also had good reason for making that deal. They had already exceeded their pool limit by more than 15 percent, but trading for extra slot value space kept them just 14.86 percent over.

So, when penalties are tallied, the Blue Jays will face just one year of being limited to spending $300,000 on any single player instead of two years had they exceeded their pool by 15 percent.

Critics say such teams are “gaming” the system and want rules overhauled when MLB’s collective-bargaining agreement is renewed after the 2016 season. But proponents argue teams will always exploit rules.

And there is a benefit for teams staying within limits this year. Next summer’s crop of Cuban prospects is expected to be excellent.

With penalties stacking up from this summer and last, many top spenders — the Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Giants and Yankees among them — will be limited to $300,000 bids for players next year.

That means the Mariners will have less competition for top Cuban players. And if they opt to blast through their spending limits — accepting penalties in exchange for securing multiple top international prospects — next summer could be their chance to truly “game” the system.