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The Chicago Cubs have reportedly landed two of the most impressive international free agent prospects out of Venezuela this year in 16-year-olds Mark Malave and Ricardo Marcano. Terms of the deals haven’t yet been disclosed, but each was expected to fetch a pretty penny. Baseball America had Malave pegged as the 8th best (ranked by expected signing bonus) prospect in this year’s Latin American class, and Marcano as number 30.

More from BA:

Malave, 16, is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound switch-hitting catcher with a strong arm and was expected to be among the top-paid catchers in Latin America this year. Marcano, 16, is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and stands out for his lefthanded swing, though he may end up in the outfield.

The signings, together with the $1.1 million signing of Dominican shortstop Enrique Acosta and the Cubs’ draft full of hard-to-sign types, go some way to confirming Tom Ricketts’ stated desire to spend more money on amateur signings than the Cubs have in the recent past.

Of the Cubs’ amateur efforts, Dave Kaplan offered some bits he’s hearing:

The Cubs are starting to receive rave reviews from other organizations because of their commitment to spending on amateur signings which is far more more than had been committed under the previous ownership group. In fact, one baseball source says that the Cubs could end up spending more than double what the organization has ever laid out in the amateur ranks….

“The Ricketts family is sure putting their money where their mouth is. They said that they want to build a tremendous farm system and this is the right way to go about doing it. There are a lot of very envious organizations that wish they had the level of commitment that the Cubs do,” a former GM who is now a major league scout told me.

This is, of course, a good start, but I’ll wait until the Cubs start signing some draft picks before I get too excited.

  • CubFan Paul

    smh ..if only we had that level of commitment to the big league club (i.e. surround the aging veterns w/ productive/proven players & not kids/AA players) ..I’ve heard no good excuse & just butt kissing when it comes to the Ricketts slashing payroll in the 3rd largest market (2nd largest in the N.L. & biggest market in the N.L. Central)

    • hardtop

      Paul, not diagreeing with you, i’m just curious: How are the large market rankings determined?
      who is a bigger NL team than the cubs? philly? if thats true, it can’t be based on population as chicago is bigger than philly, or is assumed that some of the population is split with the white sox?

      as far as fan bases, i would say the cubs have to be top three in baseball, if not second only to the yankees. having lived in another state 1000 miles away, adn traveled the region, Cubs fans are everywhere! And they aren’t just Chicago transplants like me. there are people born all over the country who are loyal cub fans (Denver lost many fans to the rockies inthe 90′s). the red sox obvioulsy have a big following, but i think the majority of that is regional, given they cover about 6 itsy bitsy states, and regional transplants to toher parts of the country. the yankees? well new york is obvioulsy huge, but fan base outside of new york? cant explain it except people like cheering for a winner.

      • CubFan Paul

        #1 market is NewYork, #2 is LosAngeles & #3 is Chicago ..markets are determined by the number of buyers & sellers in a particular market ..its all about revenue streams available &the Cubs have that advantage ..so do the Yankees w/ the YES network that pays hundred$ of million of dollars Each year to the team (the Cubs hav WGN & CSN, the Ricketts know this, which is why they own 25% of CSN)

        • CubFan Paul

          i found a 2007 article about the Yankees revenue sources & spending and how its justifiable to hav a $200million payroll (its at least $210million today maybe more) http://nymag.com/news/features/2007/profit/32903/ ..so i’l continue to call the Ricketts cheap until i find similar material disproving my thoughts on the money they make & not spending on the BigLeague team ..i will keep looking (after dinner of course)

          • CubFan Paul

            the Cubs are a consistent Top 5 revenue team at about $245million (Yanks are #1 at $440million &the Mets are a distant 2nd place in annual revenue at about $268million annually) ..i read a few articles saying & trying to prove the Cubs revenue could easily go up another $100million a year w/ a renovation to Wrigley (which explains why Tom Ricketts really wants to renovate) ..but at $240plus million a year minus the payroll & the “baseball operations” Tom brags about, he’s still pocketing at the Very Least $80million ..i say pocketing because Ricketts lowered the payroll this year instead of maintaining/upgrading the talent. ..but who am i to tell the man (the alleged fan) how to spend his money?

  • Zach

    Its good to see that the Ricketts are spending money on international free agents and it also looks like they are signing people with some power with Ricardo Marcano today and Enrique Acosta the week before. I also like how the Cubs drafted people with power, because they don’t have many prospects with power.

  • pfk

    I keep saying…the Ricketts are doing the things necessary to build a winner…and it all starts with infrastructure and building from within. And doing that takes throwing serious money at potentially hard to sign prospects. I find this very impressive because an owner that knows he needs to get a new spring training facility, more revenue streams, and dramatically enhance money for draft pics, scouts, etc., is the same person who will also know he needs a new GM. But, since the GM hire is so important, he needed time to learn the ropes so to speak. He consistently mentions both Boston and Atlanta as his role models for an organization. Atlanta for the incredible farm system that consistently produces talent to use or trade. Boston on maximizing revenue streams from an iconic ball park. I can’t think of 2 better organizations.

    • bill

      does the UNITED STATES Have any Prospects ????

      • hcs

        Those would be taken in the draft…

    • EQ

      Sometimes it seems like Hendry is a real life version of the character that Richard Pryor plays in “Brewster’s Millions”

  • cubs

    ??

  • Serio

    Steve Stone GM?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He hasn’t been given a chance for a reason.

      • Dave

        The ghost of Kent Merker?

        • Serio

          The Score was talking about it this morning. With Stones now book he said the one thing he never got to do was be GM

  • Dick

    Has anyone else noticed that the Cubs have failed to sign any of their first 15 draft choices from this year’s draft? This shapes up as being another Hendry disaster.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I have noticed and it concerns me. I’m hoping there’s an avalanche announcement on the way soon.

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