With the 2016-17 international signing period set to open on July 2nd, here’s the latest on some players who may be lined up for big contracts next month, as well as info on players who aren’t subject to the international bonus pools…
- The Astros are now seen the most likely landing spot for Dominican shortstop Freudis Nova, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports, with the 16-year-old in line for a bonus of around $1.5MM. Nova had been expected to sign with the Marlins for a bonus in the neighborhood of $2.5MM, but Miami backed away from that arrangement after Nova tested positive for steroids in February. One scout tells Badler that Nova has five-tool potential, and a fuller scouting report is available to those with a Baseball America subscription. The highly-touted Nova may be the best international talent Houston lands in the coming signing period, which is saying something given that the Astros are expected to load up on international talent and far exceed their signing pool.
- Badler lists some other international prospects expected to sign with the Astros, noting that Venezuelan catcher Yorbin Ceuta is also expected to receive a bonus in excess of $1MM.
- Outfielder Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros and second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez will take part in a showcase of Cuban talent to be held on June 13, Ben Badler tweets. This is two days before the close of the 2015-16 international signing period, and as Badler noted two weeks ago, time is running out for the Dodgers (and other clubs facing a $300K spending ceiling in the next signing period) to sign Armenteros while they still can Fernandez, of course, can sign at any time for any amount since he is exempt from the pools.
- Cuban righty Vladimir Gutierrez took part in a private workout for Dodgers officials yesterday, Baseball Essential’s Robert Murray reports. The Dodgers have long been rumored to be interested in Gutierrez, though since he is pool-eligible, the June 15 deadline looms large for L.A. given the number of other teams who have been linked to Gutierrez. That said, Gutierrez has also been a free agent for almost a full year and has yet to sign a contract.
- Roland Bolanos, a 19-year-old righty from Cuba, has been declared a free agent and can sign with any team, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter link). Bolanos is a former member of Cuba’s junior national team, and he has a four-pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90’s fastball.
- Earlier this week, Badler compiled a list of the 50 largest international signing bonuses of all time. (Cuban players weren’t included on the list given the county’s unique situation.) The Giants’ $6MM bonus to Lucius Fox last summer tops the list, with the Rangers’ $4.95MM bonus to Nomar Mazara in 2011 the next-highest. As Badler observes, relatively few of the 50 names have made an impact in the bigs since expensive bonuses are a most recent trend, though there are some very notable names (Miguel Cabrera, Byung-Hyun Kim, Miguel Sano and Mazara himself).