Yesterday, it emerged that MLB had banned the Red Sox from signing international amateur talent for the 2016-17 signing season, and had voided contracts to which the Red Sox had agreed with outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti, righty Cesar Gonzalez, and infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba. Under the terms of MLB’s ruling, those players will get to keep the bonuses they received from Boston. MLB’s ban punished the Red Sox for using “package deals” during the last signing period to get around previous penalties for having exceeded their international pool while signing Yoan Moncada in 2014-15. Those penalties prevented the Sox from signing any player for more than $300K, but the team allegedly circumvented that penalty by paying bonuses that did not exceed the $300K threshold to multiple players with the same agent but then funneling more of those funds to the best regarded player. Here’s the latest on that story.
- Other teams are not yet allowed to negotiate with the players who had their contracts voided, Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes (all Twitter links). The players will be eligible to pick new teams during the signing period that began today, but for now that process is on hold, while the league works with the players’ union to find the players new agents.
- Guaimaro was the primary recipient of the Red Sox’ extra funds, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs notes, writing that he would rate Guaimaro the 17th-best international prospect for this signing season. Muzziotti projects as a fringe prospect, while the other three players look like organizational types. Still, Longenhagen notes, the Red Sox’ ban for this year is limited in scope because the team did not have a huge signing season last year or project to have one this year (although they were connected to a few prospects, including Venezuelan outfielder Roimar Bolivar).
- An informant helped MLB gather evidence the Red Sox were violating spending rules, reports Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. The case could prove to be significant in that it could set precedent for similar situations in the future, Drellich notes. “Other clubs would completely lose confidence in the system if MLB learned stuff like this was happening and did nothing,” a source close to the investigation told Drellich. “It’s been an important issue.”