By Kiley McDaniel
There has been intrigue, rumors, and large amounts of money flying around with the opening of the signing period for nearly all of the top 16 year olds in Latin America beginning this morning.
Some scouts and agents started posting in the comments of the scouting reports article and 100 comments later, it turned into a liveblog of sorts of international rumors and facts. It’s still a comments section, so take it with a grain of salt, but there’s some good stuff in there.
ESPN Deportes broke the story that both the Rangers and Reds offered $5 million to Michel Inoa, but he stuck with the A’s offer of $4.25 million because of his comfort with their organization and confidence in their pitcher development system.
The Reds offered a $5 million big league deal and the Rangers went to $5.2 million in a standard minor league deal.
I had heard a few other teams involved on the high end of the Inoa sweepstakes, but the Reds and Rangers had the most buzz all along and now it’s clear why. This is proof that these teams are serious about Latin America, and also underlines a common July 2nd occurrence that I’ll touch on after the jump.
Read on for much more on these developments, and an early list of July 2nd signings after the jump…
EDIT: I’ve added some updated signings and bonus information.
(Michel Inoa photo credit: Victor Perez/ESPNDeportes.com)
Some notes on done deals, or at least the ones that have leaked out so far, beyond Inoa’s $4.25 million to Oakland:
ESPN Deportes tags a few signings on the end of the Inoa story:
- LHP Carlos Perez to Atlanta for $600,000
- SS Anderson Felix to the Yankees for $500,000
- RHP Pedro Martinez to San Diego for $150,000
- SS Jimmy De Los Santos to Atlanta for $100,000
Mentioned in the comments and later confirmed:
- 3B Gustavo Pierre to Toronto
- SS Jose Osoria to Cleveland for $575,000
Padres.com has a press release on the elite talent San Diego has locked up:
- RHP Adis Portillo, $2.2 million
- SS Alvaro Aristy
- RF Luis Domoromo, $1.2 million
- RHP Elvin Tavarez
- UT Corey Adamson
The Padres aren’t messing around, with a spanking new $8.5 million academy in the Dominican and getting some top talent on the first day of the open period. You can check the release for info on the players, like Adamson, who is from Australia and I have little information on.
Aristy, Domoromo, and Portillo were long rumored to be headed to the Padres and are covered in the international scouting reports article. Tavarez, and many of these other players, have bios in Enrique Rojas’ international preview for ESPN Deportes.
Hat tip to commenter Paul, who led me to the link and mentioned some numbers that have been rumored for the last few weeks, and I was able to confirm Portillo’s and Domoromo’s bonuses, while Aristy is strongly rumored to have signed for $1 million and Adamson is said to have been paid in the $500,000 range, but I wasn’t able to get a solid number for Tavarez.
Padres exec Paul DePodesta has his own thoughts on the Padres July 2nd signees at his blog.
The Yankees have also made their signees official:
- INF Giancarlo Arias
- C/3B Jackson Valera
- OF Ramon Flores
- SS Anderson Felix
- RF Yeico Calderon
As mentioned above, Felix was for $500,000, and all of these players were fringe seven figure talents that the Yankees locked up early in the process. While the bonuses aren’t clear yet for all of these players, it appears all five were for below-market, value-type deals between $500,000 and $900,000.
Calderon, Flores, and Arias have reports in the scouting reports article, but, in short, all are excellent hitters with corner player type skills, though Arias may stick at second base. Felix is a hitability shortstop with gap-to-gap power likely moving to second base, and Valera keeps with the theme as a very good bat with plus power but no clear position.
The Yankees focused on guys with high-probability bats that they were able to get at below-market prices, all in an exploding market. This is a dynamic I’ll touch in the next article as the teams that were ahead of the curve and spending a lot of money in Latin America for many years are now trying to find ways to get solid values in a crowded market.
The big market, established teams are the ones with the infrastructure in place to pull off something like the Yankees did; the experienced scouts, relationships, reputation, know-how, etc. Notice how none of the traditional Latin powers are on these big, seven-figure talents, that it’s all relatively new teams trying to make a name for themselves. I’m sure the Mariners, Braves, Red Sox, and Mets list of signees will look pretty similar to that Yankees list.
The Rangers would be considered by some to be a traditional power (others would say it’s the group listed aboce), but it’s not uncommon for players to take less money on July 2nd from a scout/team they are comfortable with, that have a track record with the player, reputation, and tradition. Every year, a team wanting to make a splash makes a late play for top players and gets rebuffed, it just doesn’t always make the papers. While sometimes the player/agent take the money, taking less money is more common than many fans may assume. This open market doesn’t necessarily work like the MLB free agent market, and that’s part of the intrigue.
In the same vein, some good players never get seen by these other teams and some big market teams will get a player for $100,000 that they would’ve paid up to $500,000 for. Obviously, that becomes less and less common by the day. The days seem to be over where teams get a discount because a player grew up wanting to play for them; the scout that knew them when they were 12 is the new best way to get a player for a good value, hence the rush by many teams in the last few years to get the infrastructure of the big market teams in place.
The Braves made two signings in Taiwan, hat tip to reader George L.:
- RHP Wei-Chen Huang for $125,000.
- C Meng-Hsiu Tsai for $100,000
Reported by the Taiwan Baseball Blog, Huang is an 18 year old righty at 6′0, 185 lbs with a fastball that tops out at 90, with a curve and change. Here are some pictures on his agent’s web site of his press conference
Also from the Taiwan Baseball Blog, Tsai is a 5′11, 190 pound that shows an above-average arm and reportedly had interest from the Red Sox, Twins, and Mariners, as well.
While I finish up the next article about the Latin market and bonuses, along with gathering more confirmed signings, take a look at the notes article I wrote to introduce the July 2nd signing period with some numbers and a general feel for the process.
We also have a number of Latin sources posting confirmed numbers in the comments for this article and the ones before it. I can’t confirm all of these, but the commenters haven’t been proven wrong yet, so if you’re looking for news on your team, take a look.