The Cubs have made a splash early in the international market by locking up a lengthy list of players to significant bonuses. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez first reported the bulk of the signings.
Among the players inked, the biggest bonus goes to Yonathan Sierra Estiwal, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic, who’ll get $2.5MM. He earned the 16th slot on the MLB.com board, which noted that there could be some power in his long frame, while Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs and Baseball America’s Ben Badler ranked him outside the top thirty available players.
Another $2MM will go to countryman Aramis Ademan, a shortstop, whose signing was first reported by Ben Badler of Baseball America with Sanchez adding the cash value. Badler placed him within his top dozen players, explaining that he offers more in the way of solid promise than huge upside. A contact hitter with minimal power and uninspiring speed, Ademan shows promise as an on-base threat and is a smooth, competent fielder at short with solid arm strength.
Also checking in with seven-figure bonuses were Venezuelan shortstop Yonathan Perlaza ($1.3MM), Panamanian catcher Miguel Amaya ($1.25MM), and Dominican corner infielder Christopher Martinez ($1MM). All of those players earned top-thirty billing in at least one of the above-linked rankings. Sanchez adds that righty Yunior Perez is also going to Chicago for $600K.
Tally up those deals, and the total outlay stands at $7.65MM. That’s more than double the club’s $3,230,700 total pool allocation (via Baseball America), meaning that the Cubs will sacrifice the ability to hand out any $300K+ bonuses for the next two years and incur a 100% tax on its overage. The club could still trade for some additional spending slots to offset some of those penalty fees.