Major League Baseball has informed clubs that exciting Cuban righty Yadiel Alvarez will first be eligible to sign in the upcoming July 2 period, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). That means that Alvarez’s appeal for eligibility to sign in the current period has been denied. Of course, it also indicates that he will be able to sign immediately, unlike some other Cuban players, as Baseball America’s Ben Badler notes on Twitter.
Several clubs will not be eligible to sign players for more than $300K in the signing period beginning next year (and the one that follows): the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Diamondbacks, and Angels incurred that penalty (among others) for exceeding their bonus allocations. Those clubs will be precluded from offering more than a minimal bonus to Alvarez, who is expected to command much more. Arizona, in particular, was said to have significant interest.
Ultimately, there may not be much practical effect: the current period ends on June 15. And Alvarez is said by Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs to be eyeing a $16MM bonus with the Dodgers, who strongly implied they bowed out of the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes in part so that they could take full advantage of the upcoming July 2 market.
By reaching formal eligibility for the coming market, Alvarez will be available to the Cubs and Rangers, both of which sat out the prior two periods. Chicago is reported to have at least some interest in the young righty, in addition to the aforementioned Dodgers and the Nationals, Rockies, Blue Jays, Padres, Athletics, Cardinals, Twins, and Brewers. (All those reports, also, came via Sanchez.)
All said, there figures to be no shortage of interest in Alvarez’s services. As McDaniel explained back in February, the previously unknown Alvarez showed huge tools for his age at a showcase. With Moncada and Hector Olivera off the market, he’s clearly the next major Cuban talent to watch.