The Cubs are close to a deal with Taiwanese pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports. Sanchez expects that Tseng's bonus will cost the Cubs a little over $1.5MM. Sanchez had tweeted on Monday that the Cubs had emerged as the favorite to sign Tseng.
Sanchez ranked Tseng the No. 29 international prospect. The 18-year-old Tseng has a fastball that reaches 95 MPH, along with a curve and slider. He was the youngest player on Chinese Taipei's WBC roster.
The Cubs have already signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7MM, Jefferson Mejia for $850K, Erling Moreno for $650K and Johan Matos for $270K, and they have an agreement with top outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez for $2.8MM. That means they will have exceeded their $5.52MM international bonus pool even before the Tseng signing.
The Cubs can still trade for the right to spend more bonus pool money, but Sanchez notes that they can only do so up to a 50 percent increase over their original $4.56MM pool. If they traded up to the maximum amount, that would leave them with a bonus pool of $6.84MM. Assuming Tseng signs for an even $1.5MM and that the Jimenez deal is completed, the Cubs will spend $7.7MM just on Jimenez, Torres, Tseng, Mejia, Moreno and Matos.
If the Cubs exceed their pool by 10 to 15%, they cannot sign an international prospect for more than $500K during the 2014-15 signing period. If they exceed it by more than 15%, they cannot sign a player for more than $250K. In either case, they would have to pay a 100% tax on this year's overage. It now appears very likely that the Cubs will exceed their 2013-14 bonus pool by more than 15%, which may be a plan they developed on the fly — they recently traded for more pool space in the Scott Feldman and Ronald Torreyes deals, and it's hard to see why they would have done that if they planned on paying the stiffest penalty for exceeding their pool.
MLBTR's Steve Adams wrote last week about the Cubs' international bonus situation.