5:48pm: The Reds sent $2.75MM in spending room to the Red Sox, tweets Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
10:33am: The Red Sox have acquired international bonus pool space from the Reds in exchange for minor league first baseman Nick Longhi, as per a Sox press release. In a separate deal, Boston also acquired more pool space from the Cardinals in exchange for minor league infielders Imeldo Diaz and Stanley Espinal. Specific financial terms weren’t announced for either trade.
The Sox made a big splash as the 2017-18 international signing period opened this morning, agreeing to deals with highly-touted prospects Daniel Flores, Danny Diaz and Antoni Flores for a combined $6.1MM in bonuses. Since the Red Sox had only $4.75MM available to spend in their draft pool, some trading was necessary to bring in the extra funds for these youngsters, as well as any other less-splashy international signings the Sox may make. Teams are allowed to acquire as much as 75 percent of their original draft pool, which works out to $3,562,500 in Boston’s case.
Longhi was rated as Boston’s 14th-best minor leaguer by the 2017 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which described Longhi as “one of the best pure hitters in the Red Sox system” despite a lack of power. Longhi has six of his 16 career homers as a professional this season at Double-A, with a .262/.306/.401 overall batting line in 252 PA. The 21-year-old was originally a 30th-round pick for the Sox in the 2013 amateur draft.
Both Espinal and Diaz have appeared in just seven games each this season, all for Boston’s low A-ball affiliate in Lowell. Espinal, a 20-year-old third baseman out of the Dominican Republic, has a .682 OPS over 577 pro plate appearances. The 19-year-old Diaz also hasn’t shown much at the plate in his brief career, hitting .222/.279/.258 over 522 PA.
The Cardinals had $5.75MM and the Reds $5.25MM in available pool money for this July 2 class, though both teams are under the $300K limit since both exceeded their bonus pools in the 2016-17 signing period. It stands to reason that St. Louis and Cincinnati felt comfortable dealing their pool money since they didn’t plan on using all of it given their limited signing capabilities. It wouldn’t be a surprise if other teams facing the $300K penalty (the Astros, A’s, Cubs, Padres, Royals, Braves, Giants, Dodgers and Nationals) also deal some from their bonus pool funds in the coming weeks and months.