JANUARY 6: The Angels tonight officially announced the signing of Baldoquin.
DECEMBER 20: Baldoquin has passed his physical. The deal is done, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (via Twitter). Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (also Twitter) adds that there is still some paperwork to be filed before the deal is official.
DECEMBER 9: Baldoquin has arrived in the United States, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times). The team hopes to have Baldoquin’s physical completed and the signing finalized by next week.
NOVEMBER 4: The Angels have reached an agreement with 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin on a record-setting $8MM bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The agreement is pending a physical and the $8MM bonus is the most ever for an amateur player under the current international signing rules.
Baldoquin called his agreement a “dream come true” in speaking to Sanchez, going on to state, “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point. I’m ready for the next part of my journey.”
Baldoquin has three seasons of professional experience playing with Las Tunas in Serie Nacional, Sanchez writes, and he also appeared on the Cuban National 16-and-under team when he was eligible. Baldoquin left Cuba in February and has been training in the Dominican Republic. He can play both third base and the outfield, Sanchez adds.
Because Baldoquin was subject to the international signing bonus, the Angels have now clearly shattered their international bonus pool. By adding Baldoquin, the Halos are subjecting themselves to a 100 percent luxury tax on any dollars spent over their $2.383MM bonus pool, and they will also be ineligible to sign any player for more than $300K in either of the next two international signing periods. They can, however, spend as aggressively as they wish for the remainder of this signing period, which runs through mid-June. At this point, because they’ll already have been hit with the max penalties, the only further penalties they will incur will be the 100 percent on any further dollars that are spent on international free agents.
Information on Baldoquin is sparse, but Sanchez lists him at 5’10”, and interested fans can take a look at this 10-minute video compilation from YouTube that shows the right-handed hitter taking batting practice, fielding grounders, throwing across the diamond from third base and turning double plays as a shortstop with the help of a few workout partners.
At just 20 years of age and with only three seasons of experience in Serie Nacional, Baldoquin seems like a clear candidate to begin his Angels career in the minor leagues, even though the team has traded Howie Kendrick this offseason. Grant Green and Josh Rutledge are likely to man second base in Anaheim barring a further trade, though neither has a track record of much success in the Majors. Should one of them establish himself as an everyday option at second, another spot for Baldoquin could open in the near future anyway; David Freese are controlled only through the following season, while Erick Aybar is controlled through 2016.