Here are a few recent international signings of note:
- The Orioles announced today that they’ve signed outfielder Isaac Bellony. He’ll receive a $220K bonus, per Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Bellony, originally born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was signed out of the Dominican Republic. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette describes him as “a young, switch-hitting center fielder with power, speed, and a strong arm, who was recruited by several clubs.” Bellony didn’t rank among the top 50 international prospects from Baseball America, though the very fact that the Orioles are signing him at all is of note. Baltimore has refrained from participating in international free agency for years, reportedly as a directive under owner Peter Angelos, but Duquette plainly stated last month that the organization plans to change that philosophy as it embarks upon a lengthy rebuild.
- Indeed, the Orioles have even added additional spending capacity via trades. That has allowed them to make a volume of signings while also perhaps lining up bigger targets. (Rumors have focused on Cuban prospect Victor Victor Mesa.) Per Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the Baltimore organization has also recently inked infielder Moises Ramirez ($225K) and outfielders Damien Valdez ($200K) and J’Rudjeanon Isenia ($125K) to notable contracts.
- The Dodgers have signed Korean right-hander Hyun-Il Choi to a $300K bonus, according to a report from Ilgan Sports (Korean language link; h/t Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net, on Twitter). Choi, 18, will reportedly receive a $300K bonus to join the Los Angeles organization. It seems the young hurler was viewed as a top amateur draft target for KBO organizations before the Dodgers wooed him across the Pacific. This isn’t the first time that an MLB club has snatched a top Korean talent before he entered the professional ranks in his home country. The Braves recently inked infielder Ji-Hwan Bae in similar circumstances. (Of course, that signing also included some off-the-books funds and was part of the Braves’ international scandal. Bae ended up being made a free agent and signing with the Pirates.)