The Diamondbacks have announced the signing of Cuban righty Yoan Lopez. He will receive a $8.27MM bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). The deal, as the rules require, is of the minor league variety, meaning that Lopez will come with the full six years of service-time control. (Ben Badler of Baseball America originally reported that the two sides had agreed to terms, and Sanchez was the first to report that the deal was official.)
That contract edges out recent signee Roberto Baldoquin for the highest-ever bonus for an international amateur. Lopez, 21, may have set a new record for international players not classed as professionals, but he actually left money on the table when he signed with the D’Backs, with Sanchez adding that Lopez had a $9MM bonus offer (links to Twitter). Arizona beat out the division-rival Padres and Dodgers, Sanchez adds, with top D’Backs brass convincing Lopez that their organization offered the best and quickest path to the big leagues.
While adding a sought-after international arm without putting the biggest money on the table would seem to count as a win for the Diamondbacks, the signing is not without its drawbacks. Lopez was subject to international spending limits, meaning that his new organization will pay a 100% overage on the amount it goes over its pool allocation and will not be allowed to hand out a $300K+ bonus to any international amateur over the next two July 2 signing periods.
The Diamondbacks join the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Rays as teams that will begin serving a two-year signing closure starting this summer. That will hurt even more for Arizona, however, as the team will not be able to tap into the largest international allocation for the 2015-16 signing period (as Badler notes on Twitter).
Lopez is likely to open at one of the Class A levels, in Badler’s estimation, where he will begin learning to maximize his raw talents. Badler writes that Lopez has a good frame that he has begun filling out, delivering a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s.