While the next international signing period opens on January 15, teams are already lining up the next wave of int’l prospects for years in advance. Washington City Paper’s Byron Kerr writes that the Nationals have agreed to a deal with outfielder/third baseman Elian Soto, the younger brother of superstar Juan Soto, as the 15-year-old has decided to join the D.C. organization when the 2023 signing period opens roughly a year from now. Reports from Z101’s Hector Gomez earlier this week suggested that the younger Soto was preparing to head to the Mets, and Soto seemingly confirmed matters by posting an Instagram video of himself wearing Mets-branded attire. New York was reportedly set to give Soto a $50K bonus, and while Brittany Ghiroli and Maria Torres of The Athletic report that the Nationals topped that offer, it wasn’t with a huge dollar figure, as the younger Soto has intriguing potential but isn’t considered a true top-tier prospect.
Though it is common practice for teams and international prospects to agree to deals well in advance of their eligibility date, deals aren’t completely official until a prospect’s signing period opens, so the younger Soto wasn’t breaking any rules by backing out of his Mets agreement. It also remains to be seen if the 2023 international signing period even exists in its current form, as it has long been speculated that MLB might overhaul the signing process and perhaps institute an international draft as part of the next collective bargaining agreement. This would wipe out the handshake deals teams have made with scores of younger prospects like Soto, and subject these players to a draft with a harder slot value (and less financial flexibility) than the one used in the North American amateur draft.
More from around baseball…
- Eric Hinske is one of the names the Yankees are considering for their hitting coach vacancy, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The 2002 AL Rookie Of The Year and a veteran of 12 big league seasons, Hinske would certainly fit the Yankees’ preference for an experienced former player to join their staff. Hinske also has an accomplished coaching resume, working as a first base coach, assistant hitting coach, and hitting coach over parts of seven seasons with the Cubs, Angels, and Diamondbacks. No stranger to the Bronx, Hinske played for the Yankees’ 2009 World Series team, and briefly worked as a scout for the Yankees before embarking on his coaching career.
- The Royals announced several promotions within their baseball operations department, with a pair of former big leaguers amongst those moving up the ladder. Paul Gibson is now the senior director of pitching, after the former southpaw worked in various scouting, special assistant, and pitching performance supervisory roles with the Royals since 2011. Former Kansas City outfielder and first base coach Mitch Maier is now the director of player development/field coordinator, following two seasons as the team’s director of baseball ops.