Eloy Jimenez Rumors

Cubs Sign Eloy Jimenez

The Cubs announced the signing of Eloy Jimenez, who was rated as the top international prospect in this year's July 2nd class  by both Baseball America and MLB.com.  The two sides first reached agreement on a deal on July 3rd and formalized things nearly a month later.

The deal is worth $2.8MM bonus as well as a $250K college scholarship, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.  That's a signficant payday for a 16-year-old, but he actually turned down an even more lucrative offer to sign with the Cubs (Twitter link).  The Cubs got a lot done on the international market, signing Jimenez, Gleyber Torres ($1.7MM), Jen-Ho Tseng ($1.625MM), Jefferson Mejia ($850K), and Erling Moreno ($800K). In total, the Cubs spent $7.895MM on int'l free agents.

As Steve Adams explained in his analysis of the Cubs' international expenditures, the Cubs have gone far over their alotted bonus pool.  The Cubs will likely face the maximum penalties for international spending next summer, which means that they won't be able to give any player more than $250K in 2014=15.  They'll also have to pay a 100% tax on the overage.

The outfielder is 6'4" and 200 pounds, and Baseball America's Ben Badler says that his average raw power and flat swing produce line drives — a combination that could lead to above-average home run power in the future. MLB.com raved about Jimenez in their Top 30:

"Considered the crown jewel of the Class of 2013, Jimenez has one of the best baseball bodies available this year and is considered to be the total package. The teenager has impressed scouts with his intelligence, plus-speed, and gap-to-gap power that is expected to improve as he grows into his body."

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Analyzing The Cubs’ International Expenditures

The Cubs have been extremely active on the international free agent market in the past two days, signing Gleyber Torres ($1.7MM), Jefferson Mejia ($850K), Erling Moreno ($650K), Johan Matos ($270K) and reaching agreement with Eloy Jimenez ($2.8MM). If those figures are accurate, the Cubs have $6.27MM in international expenditure.

As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted yesterday (Twitter link), the Cubs began the international free agency period with a bonus pool of $4,557,200. They acquired an additional $388,100 in the Scott Feldman trade with the Orioles and $784,700 from the Astros in the Ronald Torreyes trade before sending $209,700 to the Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol swap. All told, they gained an additional $963K in bonus space.

That total brought their bonus pool to $5,520,300 — which is a significant ways short of the $6.27MM they've spent following the Jimenez signing.That would mean the Cubs are over their allotted bonus pool by $749,700 — an overage of 13.6 percent. Baseball America's Ben Badler reported back in April that the penalty for exceeding a bonus pool by 10-15 percent would be a 100 percent tax on the overage as well as the inability to sign a player for more than $500K in next year's signing period.  The penalty for exceeding the pool by 15% or more is a 100 percent tax on the overage and a $250K per player limit next year.

If the reported signing bonuses aren't 100 percent accurate, the Cubs could be less than 10 percent over. However, barring a significant inaccuracy, they would still fall into the 5-10 percent overage bracket, which would prevent them from signing a player for more than $500K in 2014-15 but require only a 75 percent overage tax.

The other thing to consider is that the Jimenez deal isn't official as of yet. It could be possible for the Cubs to acquire additional bonus money in trades, as they haven't technically spent the $2.8MM on Jimenez.

Per the new CBA, teams are allowed to acquire up to 50 percent of their initial bonus pool. That would be a total of $2,278,600 for the Cubs, meaning they can still acquire an additional $1,315,600. That would be enough to cover the remaining difference and keep the Cubs from incurring limitations on next year's spending.

Reactions To The Feldman-Arrieta Trade

Earlier today, the Orioles acquired Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and two international bonus slots. Here are some reactions and related news to the first significant trade of this year's trading season…

  • MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports that Arrieta has two year and 99 days of service time, meaning that the Cubs can avoid Super Two status if he accumulates less than 53 days of service time this season (Twitter link). If Arrieta picks up fewer than 73 days of service time, he will be controllable through the 2017 season.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs provides an excellent, in-depth analysis of the trade, noting that Feldman should net the Orioles an extra 1.0-1.5 wins above replacement, which is a critical upgrade over their internal rotation options. From the Cubs' point of view, Arrieta is a nice gamble, but the deal is really about the long-term future, Cameron writes. He agrees with the assessment of Baseball America's Ben Badler that the Cubs are clearly stockpiling international money to add top international prospect Eloy Jimenez after signing Gleyber Torres earlier today.
  • Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio that he didn't want to trade prospects whose capabilities are unknown at this point. The O's parted with Arrieta and Strop because they believe they know what those arms are capable of (Twitter link).
  • The Padres tried to acquire Arrieta, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but it sounds like the Cubs fully intend on hanging onto him rather than including him in other deals.
  • The Red Sox weren't in on Feldman, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.co (on Twitter). Feldman could have appealed to Boston had the rotation faded as the trade deadline drew nearer, but they weren't interested at this time.
  • Cubs closer Kevin Gregg told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he couldn't believe the Cubs were able to acquire both Arrieta and Strop in the trade. Gregg offered high praise for the talent of both players, noting that a change of scenery could help Strop. Manager Dale Sveum expressed excitement to Muskat about acquiring a power arm like Strop that was part of baseball's best bullpen in 2012.

July 2 Notes: Rankings, Twins, Trading Bonus Money

We're a day away from the kickoff of this year's international free agency period. Starting tomorrow, teams will be able to sign amateur free agents, many of whom will be just 16 years of age. Baseball America's Ben Badler reported each team's bonus pool back in April. The Astros ($4.93MM) have the most to spend while the Nationals ($1.85MM) have the least. Here's more on what to expect in this year's signing period…

  • Badler provides his list of Top 30 international prospects to the public for free, though subscribers can access full scouting reports on each of his Top 30. Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez tops Badler's list.
  • Jimenez also heads the Top 30 list compiled by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, though the two sets of rankings are quite different otherwise. For example, Mayo's No. 4 prospect — Dominican outfielder Wasner Peguero – does not appear on Badler's list at all.
  • Mayo's colleague at MLB.com, Jesse Sanchez, provides an in-depth profile of Jimenez. The 16-year-old tells Sanchez that he wants to be like his idol, Roberto Clemente. Sanchez writes that scouts praise Jimenez's speed, gap-to-gap power (which is expected to grow), quick hands and baseball intelligence. He's expected to end up in a corner outfield position. Jimenez tells Sanchez that July 2 is a day on which "dreams come true."
  • Sanchez also notes (Twitter link) that there's more to signing international free agents than just money. One current top prospect is deciding between two teams based on their GMs and how they have treated past international signees.
  • The Twins are expected to sign Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz, writes LaVelle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minnesota is also very interested in Dominican right-hander Mayky Perez. They have interest in Italian infielder Marten Gasparini, but aren't likely to bid as highly as some other teams might. The Twins, for what it's worth, are the current record holders for largest bonus ever given to a European amateur. German outfielder Max Kepler received an $800K signing bonus in 2009.
  • In a subscription-only piece, Badler explains that general managers are having a hard time valuing bonus money in trades. The new CBA allows teams to exchange money from their international bonus pools, but the difficulty in trade talks is creating dilemmas for teams who have already given players or agents the impression that they will be able to commit a certain amount of money on July 2. Once a team uses all of its spending pool, it cannot trade for additional funds; trades must be completed prior to the exhaustion of a team's pool.

Quick Hits: Appel, Padres, Jimenez, 2014 Draft

Despite reports over the weekend that the Astros and first overall pick Mark Appel have already agreed to terms on a below-slot contract, GM Jeff Luhnow today told reporters (including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart and Chris Abshire) that nothing is official and he has yet to meet with Appel or advisor Scott Boras.  "We're trying to move it as fast as we can," Luhnow said. "We wanted to give [Appel] the weekend to enjoy his commencement. We're optimistic we can move it pretty quickly."  Luhnow said he hoped that Appel would be signed by as soon as this week.

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • Virtually all of the players recently extended by the Padres have struggled, so Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune said the team might look for future extension candidates to prove themselves more fully before signing them to multiyear deals.  Center also discusses several other Padres topics as part of the online chat with fans. 
  • Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, favored to receive the largest bonus of the coming international signing period, is profiled by Baseball America's Ben Badler.  Jimenez, a 16-year-old with a 6'4", 200-pound frame, was reported to be a major target for the Cubs by Badler last month, and Chicago is still in "heavy pursuit" of the prospect.  Two of the several scouts and international directors who comment in Badler's piece cite Jermaine Dye as a comparable for Jimenez.
  • With the 2013 amateur draft just barely in the books, ESPN.com's Christopher Crawford (Insider subscription required) looks ahead to the 2014 draft, which could be headlined by two NC State products. 
  • FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi looks at ten players who have helped their trade value in recent weeks.  Three of those players (Jesse Crain, Yovani Gallardo and Bud Norris) have recently had their trade stock examined as part of MLBTR's Trade Candidate series.
  • In the video link atop that previous post, Morosi cites the Blue Jays, Padres and Phillies as being "right on the fence" as to whether or not they'll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.  If the three teams do decide to sell, plenty of arms will be available — Morosi lists Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee as possible trade chips.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said he has no intention of releasing embattled reliever Carlos Marmol, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports.  Manager Dale Sveum said the same yesterday after Marmol allowed four ninth-inning runs in a 4-3 Cubs loss to the Mets.  Marmol has a 6.08 ERA in 26 2/3 IP this season.

Twins Notes: Jimenez, Wang, Draft

Here are some Twins-related items, courtesy of 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson

  • The Twins "are dealing…heavily" with Amauris Nina, a trainer/agent tied to several international prospects, most notably 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Elon Jimenez.  The Cubs are considered to be a "heavy favorite" to sign Jimenez once the international signing period begins on July 2.
  • The Twins didn't have any interest in right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who signed with the Blue Jays earlier this week.
  • Club vice president Mike Radcliff said he expects the Twins will sign 27 or 28 of their 40 picks from this year's amateur draft.  He doesn't expect the club will sign 29th-round pick Logan Shore, a high school right-hander who is committed to the University of Florida.  Shore was ranked as the 202nd-best prospect in the draft by Baseball America, who speculated that Shore could've gone as high as the third round had he found a particularly interested suitor.
  • A Twins source tells Wolfson that "they fully expect" to sign fourth round pick Stephen Gonsalves.  The high school southpaw has committed to the University of San Diego and was ranked by MLB.com as the 98th-best member of this year's draft class.

Latest On July 2 Players

The July 2nd international signing period is less than two months away.  Every team had a $2.9MM bonus pool for 2012-13, but as Baseball America's Ben Badler outlined here, the 2013-14 pools "will be tiered based on reverse order of 2012 major league winning percentage."  The Astros, Cubs, and Rockies each have at least $4.2MM to spend, plus teams can trade for additional money.  The Twins, Indians, Marlins, and Red Sox each have more than $3MM to spend, while the Royals and Blue Jays are close to that figure. Badler has the latest on ten prospects who are expected to sign for at least $1MM apiece.

  • The highest bonus is likely to go to Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, potentially $2.6-2.8MM with the Cubs as the "heavy favorite."  The Cubs are also the frontrunners to sign one of the top Venezuelan players, shortstop Gleyber Torres.
  • Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers "might be the best hitter on the international market," writes Badler.  He's the primary target of the Red Sox.  Another contender for the best bat is third baseman Luis Encarnacion, who is most likely to sign with the Phillies.
  • The Yankees are the most likely suitor for Leonardo Molina, perhaps the best athlete in the class.  He can sign when he turns 16 on August 1st.  The Yankees' preliminary bonus pool is reportedly $1,877,900.
  • The biggest raw power belongs to Dominican outfielder Micker Zapata, who has been connected to the White Sox and Padres.
  • Badler's article has much more information, so be sure to give it a click and a read.