The Dodgers have indeed agreed upon a $16MM bonus with Cuban right-hander Yadier Alvarez, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (links to Twitter). That is expected to be the single largest payout given a single player on this year’s international market and is the second-largest bonus ever given to an international amateur, trailing only Yoan Moncada’s $31.5MM bonus with the Red Sox. Alvarez is represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council and Rick Thurman, Rafael Nieves and Nelson Montes.
Alvarez popped onto the scene earlier this year with a big fastball and exciting slider. He has drawn some mixed reviews, but obviously the Dodgers are believers. The opportunity to sign Alvarez, among other players, was cited as a primary reason that the organization declined to top the Red Sox’ offer for Yoan Moncada this spring.
In the eyes of Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, Alvarez was the best player available on the basis of his mid-to-upper nineties heater, plus slider, and promising change. He also possesses good athleticism and good overall physical tools, leading McDaniel to believe that he has a good chance of harnessing his stuff. Ben Badler of Baseball America expresses more concern with Alvarez’s lack of a track record and current tendency toward being wild, explaining that there is plenty of risk to go with the obvious upside.
Los Angeles has also agreed with outfielder Starling Heredia on a $2.6MM bonus and with infielder Ronny Brito on a $2MM bonus, per Sanchez. Those players, both hailing from the Dominican Republic, also rated amongst the thirty best international prospects available according to most analysts. MLB.com placed Heredia fifth on its list, citing his “raw power and projectable body.” McDaniel had Brito in the 15th place on his board, noting that he has the upside to develop into a prospect on the order of J.P. Crawford if he can pair a useful bat with good speed and fielding ability.
With just these three signings alone, Los Angeles will easily land well over its fairly meager international spending allocation of $2,020,300. Every dollar spent above that mark will be taxed at a 100% rate, meaning the Dodgers are already nearing $40MM in total obligations.