9:07pm: The Halos have also landed another former Braves shortstop, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Youngster Livan Soto is also heading to the Los Angeles organization after striking a $850K deal. That’s nearly as much as his original $1MM bonus.
Soto isn’t even halfway into his his 18th year, so he’s particularly youthful. He struggled to a .225/.332/.254 slash in 208 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League, but did draw 27 walks against 26 plate appearances. Despite the tepid output, BA’s J.J. Cooper wrote recently (subscription link) that scouts were generally pleased with what he has shown initially.
12:00pm: Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Maitan will receive a $2.2MM signing bonus (Twitter link). That’s more than the Halos have in available 2017-18 international funds, so it indeed seems that they’ll be paying Maitan with their 2018-19 bonus pool.
11:45am: The Angels have agreed to a deal with infield prospect Kevin Maitan, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). The former Braves prospect was declared a free agent by commissioner Rob Manfred following his office’s investigations into Atlanta’s circumvention of rules on the international free agent market and in the domestic amateur draft.
The addition of Maitan will be a jolt to an Angels farm system that has long rated as one of the game’s worst but has steadily improved in recent seasons. The 17-year-old Maitan didn’t perform well in his first professional season, hitting just .241/.290/.340 in 176 plate appearances between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League.
The switch-hitting Maitan was still considered by some to be one of the game’s top overall prospects and should slot in at or near the top of his new organization’s prospect rankings. It would be misleading, though, to suggest that Maitan’s struggles didn’t hamper his value to some extent; Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, for instance, tweets that he’s spoken to several scouts who wouldn’t rank Maitan among the game’s 100 best prospects at this juncture.
The Angels picked up $1.21MM of international spending money in a recent trade with the Braves in which they agreed to take on the entirety of Jim Johnson’s remaining salary from Atlanta. That gave the Halos a total of $1.315MM with which to work on the international front. GM Billy Eppler said at the time that that money was earmarked for Shohei Ohtani, but it’s critical to note that for the former Braves prospects deemed to be free agents, teams are allowed to dip into next year’s bonus pool as well.
In other words, the Halos could very well have committed a significant portion of their 2018-19 international pool to Maitan while still reserving the $1.315MM sum (and any other funds they can acquire) for their pursuit of Ohtani.