TODAY: The Marlins picked up $1MM of bonus availability in the swap with the Nats, per Spencer (via Twitter). The prior deal with the Reds brought in $750K, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets, meaning that the Miami organization has just over $6MM in spending capacity to work with.
YESTERDAY: The Marlins and Orioles have long been considered the two front-runners to sign top prospect Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., given the fact that they possess the two largest remaining international bonus pools. At the time of the showcase featuring the Mesa brothers and hard-throwing righty Sandy Gaston, a fellow Cuban prospect of intrigue, Baltimore was reported to have a $6.7MM pool to the Marlins’ $4.3MM allotment.
However, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that following the weekend trade sending prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds and this morning’s relatively stunning trade of Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals, the Marlins have “almost as much” international money as the Orioles. The specific amount that the Nationals sent to the Marlins in order to acquire the final three years of club control over Barraclough isn’t clear, but in order for the Marlins to be within striking distance, it’d have to be substantial.
Slot money must be traded in increments of at least $250K, per the collective bargaining agreement, so we know that following this past weekend’s trade of Lillie, the Marlins were up to at least $4.55MM in pool allotments. Based on that number and the fact that Spencer indicates the Marlins are still somewhat shy, it seems reasonable to deduce that the Nats couldn’t have sent more than $2MM to Miami.
Washington opened the 2018-19 signing period with a total pool of $4,983,500 but was also barred from spending more than $300K on any one signing as penalty for significant overages in previous signing periods. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Nats had already signed three players — Jeremy de la Rosa, Yeuri Amparov and Edwin Mercedes — for their maximum $300K, and the team had made another 15 signings, though the values of those additional signings is not clear.
The Marlins have reportedly been trying to sell the brothers Mesa and Gaston on their proximity to Cuba and the strong Latin American population in the Miami area. The Fish did host the showcase for the three prospects last week, and they reportedly had personalized lockers set up in the clubhouse to help the trio visualize the possibility of playing there in the future.
While the showcase was closed to the media, Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs spoke to a number of scouts who were on hand and provided a breakdown of the overall opinions of the players involved. Victor Victor Mesa’s 60-yard dash time clocked in at 6.5 seconds, placing him at a 65 to 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale, per McDaniel and Longenhagen, who pegged a 50-grade (average) on his raw power. Their detailed report, which is free to read and features plenty of detail for those interested in the group, notes that Albert Almora’s name came up as an oft-mentioned comp for the elder Mesa brother.
Gaston, meanwhile, hit 97 mph and showed better feel for his secondary offerings. The younger Mesa brother checked in a bit slower on the 60-yard dash (6.9 seconds) but had an above-average throwing arm and an above-average hit tool. Notably, McDaniel and Longenhagen write that they feel the Marlins are the favorites to land Victor Victor Mesa, which would likely make them the favorites to land Mesa Jr., as the two are said to be considered a package deal.