Jen-Ho Tseng Rumors

Cubs Sign Jen-Ho Tseng

August 12: Tseng has officially signed his deal with the Cubs, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (via Twitter). 

July 26: The Cubs have signed 18-year-old Taiwanese right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng for a $1.625MM bonus, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter). Sanchez adds that top international prospect Eloy Jimenez, who agreed to terms with the Cubs earlier this month, will officially sign with the team next week.

Sanchez ranked Tseng as the No. 29 prospect in this year's international crop, noting that his broad frame bodes well for future durability. Tseng's fastball touches 95 mph and sits comfortably in the low 90s, according to Sanchez, who adds that Tseng also has a feel for a curveball and slider. Tseng continued to draw interest from the Twins even after the initial reports that he was nearing a deal with the Cubs surfaced on July 9.

The Cubs have already signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7MM, Jefferson Mejia for $850K, Erling Moreno for $650K and Johan Matos for $270K, and their agreement with Jimenez is for $2.8MM. Despite having acquired additional bonus money from the Orioles and Astros, the Cubs are on pace to vastly exceed their $5.52MM international bonus pool.

I analyzed the Cubs' international expenditures earlier in the month, noting at the time that they were likely facing a strict penalty for exceeding their pool by 10 to 15 percent. The penalty for such an overage would be a 100 percent tax on the overage as well as severe restrictions on 2014-15 spending that would prevent the team from signing a player for any more than $500K. However, given the size of Tseng's bonus, it appears that the Cubs will exceed their bonus pool by 15 percent or more, which would mean they won't be able to sign a player for more than $250K in 2014-15 (in addition to the 100 percent tax on the overage).

Because teams cannot acquire more than 50 percent of their initial international bonus pool, the maximum bonus pool for the Cubs would be $6.836MM. With Tseng signing for $1.625MM, the Cubs have committed $7.895MM to international prospects. That's $1.059MM over their maximum international bonus pool, or a 15.5 percent overage, suggesting that the team is likely facing the maximum penalties for international spending next summer.


Twins Notes: Norris, International Money, Tseng

The Twins look like sellers again this year, as they're on pace for their third straight 90-loss campaign. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports looked at the team's trade chips last week, noting that a market for first baseman Justin Morneau hasn't really materialized as of yet. Here's more on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twins news comes about halfway into the article)…

  • Even though they're sellers, vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff tells Wolfson that the Twins could still add a player that is controlled beyond 2013. Radcliff wouldn't comment on specific names, but a league source informed Wolfson that the Twins are interested in Bud Norris. The Twins would have plenty of competition were they to make a play for Norris, as he's been connected to the Rangers, Pirates, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays and Red Sox in the past week alone.
  • The Red Sox, Braves, and Phillies all had scouts at Target Field over the weekend. All three teams have been connected to bullpen help of late, and the Twins have trade candidates such as Jared Burton and Brian Duensing in their 'pen. Glen Perkins, of course, has drawn quite a bit of interest, but the Twins have turned interested parties away thus far. Casey Fien also drew some interest from the Giants earlier this summer.
  • No international signings are imminent, but Radcliff described the process as "fluid," noting that the Twins still have money to spend. However, the team has no plans to trade any of its remaining bonus slots.
  • The Twins are still interested in 18-year-old Taiwanese righty Jen-Ho Tseng, who is reportedly close to a deal with the Cubs. The team will remain in contact with his camp until they receive official word.
  • Radcliff said Byron Buxton, who was recently named the No. 1 prospect in baseball by ESPN's Keith Law (ESPN Insider required), could ascend to Double-A New Britain before the season is over. That would be a quick rise for the 19-year-old, who began the season with Class A Cedar Rapids and has moved up to High-A Fort Myers recently.
  • The Twins were interested in Jake Arrieta before he was acquired by the Cubs in the Scott Feldman deal earlier this month.

Jen-Ho Tseng, Cubs Close To Deal

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.