dominican flagIn a move that would be as expected as it is weighty, the Chicago Cubs may have landed 16-year-old Dominican outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez for what will probably end up being the highest bonus any prospect receives this international signing period.

According to a late night report from Jesse Sanchez, Jimenez and his family have decided to sign with the Cubs, despite the last minute appearance of a rival suitor. Indeed, Sanchez says the other team offered more money, but maybe it was too late to sway Jimenez from the Cubs, to whom he’d been strongly connected for a very long time (ground work and Dominican facilities paying off, perhaps?). Sanchez adds that Jimenez and his family are big Sammy Sosa fans, and Jimenez dreams of playing at Wrigley Field some day.*

The actual signing will come at some point this week, it looks like. That might be because the Cubs need to add a little more bonus pool money before they can sign Jimenez.

With $963,000 added to their $4,557,200 pool yesterday, the Cubs – right now – have $5,520,200 to spend, plus a 5% overage before significant penalties kick in. So, for our purposes, we’ll say the Cubs right now have an effective pool of $5,796,210. They’ve already signed Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million, Jefferson Mejia for $850,000 and Erling Moreno for $800,000. That takes the available dollars down to $2,446,210. That may be enough to land Jimenez – the rumored price tag was in the $2.5 to $2.7 million range.

If it isn’t, the Cubs will have to add a little more before they can officially sign him – and, no, you can’t go over your pool and then subsequently trade for pool space to make up the difference. You have to have the extra space first.

(Teams are permitted to sign six players to bonuses of $50,000 or less, which do not count against the pool. Also, all players signed for $10,000 or less do not count against the pool. So, even if these four players “use up” the entire Cubs pool, they can still sign many more talented youngsters.)

I would preach caution with respect to any teenage prospect, and that would go double for a 16-year-old who hasn’t yet played any real competitive baseball. But Jimenez is the number one international prospect to Baseball America and (although BP’s Jason Parks isn’t quite as high on him), so there is reason for excitement here. Then again, I’d also preach caution with that excitement until he’s actually, officially signed.

*If you wanted a two sentence encapsulation of all that is special about the Cubs (including Wrigley Field) and why everything they’re doing at the ground level is important (including in the DR), this is it. I suppose the only missing piece – for a youngster like Jimenez, anyway – is to reconnect with Sosa.

  • Timmy

    i know my posts can ring as harbingers of doom to working joes trying to have fun with team news after a long day at the salt mines, but i do want to say that these international signings are great news and very promising for stocking the farm system. by far the best actions by the GM office.

    • josh2


      • Timmy

        hah, nice

  • Reality Check

    He 16; talk to me in 5 yrs; if theo is even around then.

    • Timmy

      At this rate he’ll have the worst average GM record in Cubs history. Back to Boston to clean toilets.

      • EQ76

        He’s not the GM.. everyone seems to forget that Theo is no longer a general manager.. Jed Hoyer is.

        • Timmy

          I agree with you, fire Hoyer!

          • Beer Baron

            Yea, I’m so sick of the GM trying to acquire impact talent. I mean seriously, aren’t there any more journeymen players that we can sign? A real GM would have us fighting for 4th place in the division this year – and in the future!

            • Timmy

              Every other organization with our account, and those with less of an account, does this while trying to compete. We’re competitively dyslexic by comparison, with greedy owners curtailing payroll revenues.

              • Beer Baron

                If by every other organization you mean nobody – then you have a point. Otherwise, I can’t think of a single situation in which a team started with an aging team loaded with bloated contracts and a minor league system completely bereft of talent and was able to rebuild to a point of sustained excellence while remaining competitive. Well, other than the Cleveland Indians circa 1989 – but they got lucky finding Ricky Vaughn, Pedro Sorano and Willy Mays Hayes like they did.

          • Carew

            I remember reading something that had other GMs saying the cubs are doing the rebuild the right way, and they are scared of what could happen in the future.

            I paraphrased that a lot obviously

  • Die hard

    Great reporting —- but no comment

  • cjdubbya

    So if/when Jimenez signs, that means that the Cubs will have inked three of the top 16, plus another highly-regarded guy in Mejia. This is a pretty good deal, methinks.

    • pete

      Yeah, I second that opinion. I have no idea if any of the Big (International) Four will pan out but, as I am generally a harsh grader of this FO, I tip my hat to them today. They determined a strategy, specifically to sign 4 stud prospects that they really liked/wanted, and then followed through with what was necessary to get all 4.

      • Rich H

        You guys forget the kids that have been playing at the academy that may not get that high dollar deal. That is where our depth is going to come from. It would not surprise me in the least for them to sign a ton of kids for the 10k from the academy when the last guys sign.

  • The Brian Roberts Trade

    Yesterday was a good day for the Cubs organization.

  • Derrick

    Its hard for me to get excited about 16 year olds. Good news I’m sure, just not exciting for me at this point. Hopefully the Cubs can do a good job of developing these kids. Anybody know the names of the guys the Cubs signed in 2008?

    • ChicagoMike702

      ’08 probably isn’t far enough back. Don’t know about the Cubs but the A’s gave Michael Ynoa a record breaking $4.25M that year and he’s currently in A ball. He is tearing it up for whatever that’s worth.

      If I’m not mistaken Cabrerra and Cano were considered big prospects at 16. For whatever that’s worth.

      • Kyle

        The way IFAs seem to work, once or twice a decade you get a no-doubter like Cabrera or Cano (sort of like Bryce Harper in the draft). Most years, though, it’s a lot murkier. There’s a lot of variance, and it’s not like the draft where the top names are where all the elite talent is found. Like Jason Parks said in that interview the other day, the best approach is to sign 10 guys and let them all battle it out for a few years to see who emerges as a ballplayer.

        To answer the question, a record of notable Cubs IFAs going back through 2007 can be found here:

        • BluBlud

          Kyle, thanks for the list. This is why these guys are important. Some flame out, but their are several names on that list that are currently some our more known prospect. So while some of these guys flame out, there is a great number of them that become very successful, even if they never become stars.

        • ChicagoMike702

          I know what you mean but it’s not far to say Cabrera was a no-doubter because Wily Mo Peña got double the money as him the same year. Comparing to a draft pick he was a #2 or 3 overall, very highly regarded but certainly not a once in a decade prospect like Harper.

          Good find on the list.

        • Derrick

          Thanks a ton Kyle

        • TonyP

          SS Starlin Castro, Dominican Republic – $45,000

          Lowest bonus listed……..

          • TonyP

            It would be interesting to see the top 10 ranking going back 10 years or so. Anyone know where that is listed?

  • Die hard

    The Justice Dept should look into this Intl slave trade… Most of those dollars are likely playoffs… Wonder how much trickles down to the kids ?

    • Chad

      PLAYOFFS! You’re talkin’ about PLAYOFFS!

      • EQ76


    • T C

      It is pretty unfortuante the way it works. Teams in Mexico keep 75% of bonuses, trainers throughout Latin America keep healthy, healthy chunks, and there are all sorts of shenanigans that help out the trainers and MLB orgs while keeping money out of players’ hands.

      The system needs serious, serious overhauling

    • mak

      me thinks you need to look into the definition of “slave.”

  • http://bleachernation DL Huyck


  • Big_O

    Thanks Sammy Sosa!!

    • BluBlud

      See, Sammy is still valuable to the Cubs. 😉

      • Danny Ballgame

        September callup?

  • cubchymyst

    Before Theo came in who was in charge of the international signings and is he still around? There are quite a few international signings that are solid prospects in the minors currently so the Cubs have done well in the past.

    • hansman1982

      Oneri Fleita was a big man down in the Caribbean. I was sad when he was let go.

  • Turn Two

    Better news than it is being made out to be on comments. Even if this kid doesn’t become a quality player. It improved the ranking of our farm system which helps tremendously in trades and its not so much that any one player makes it, its that you have a crop of guys at each position that could make it and then hopefully some pan out. Almora, soler, etc. you just keep adding more and you trade some and some get injured and some fail, but
    more you have the more likely some make
    . We are building write a system here. Plus yesterdays trade dire

    • BluBlud

      Didn’t understand a lot of what you said, but this kid will no impact on the ranking of our farm system. He may eventually, once he reaches KC maybe, but at 16, he is probably 4 years away from KC. But then again, he could be like Jurickson Profar or Starling Castro, and may only be 3 years from the Majors if he is that good. You never know, but the point is he will not have any current impact on our rankings.

      • Turn Two

        You contradicted yourself in your own post, you said he won’t impact the system at the same time you said he could in three years. Your either thinking short sightedly or contradicting yourself. Impacting the farm in three years is exactly what we want, waive two of talent.

        • BluBlud

          No, I didn’t contradict myself at all. He will not improve the farm system. He will have no impact on the ranking of our system. We will not jump in front of the Twins because we signed Eloy Jimenez. Now if he pans out, makes his way to the US, and starts cracking the ball in KC, at the lowest stage, and really probably not til he at least reaches Daytona, then he could. But hey, so could the guy we sign next week for $10 thousand dollars, and the guy that we drafted in the 40th round of the draft. It’s all a matter of chance.

          • Turn Two

            The minor leagues are all a matter of chance and we just added several new chances. i don’t know when i said we would be jumping the twins ranking, i said we are improving our ranking. theo has said many times its about waves of talent. Just because a move doesn’t improve or team ranking tomorrow doesn’t mean it didn’t improve our system. These improved or system and give us more chances down the road.

            • BluBlud

              It definitely improves our system, I won’t argue with you about that. Signing any kind of talent can only improve you system. However, that is not what you said. you said:

              “It improved the ranking of our farm system which helps tremendously in trades”

              I said it does not effect the ranking of our farm system. Also, there is a slim to nil chance we will hear about a trade involving Eloy for at least 3 years. Considering there is a very small chance that he even becomes a player for the Cubs, I will not choose to even mention him.

              Look at Jeffrey Baez. I have known about him for several years now, but I never mentioned him until this past offseason, after he showed up in Arizona. And even now, he has no impact on our farm system rankings. He will soon, but right now, he doesn’t.

              • Turn Two

                I never meant to imply he was going to help in trades this year, that would make little to no senseand was something i never stated. I said improving the farm helps in trades and yes he does help our farm system, even if its not improving it for tomorrow. i think i will pull abrenly here and just say your right, I’m sorry so that this silly discussion ends.

                • BluBlud

                  Actually, I guess we are both right, just on different timelines, or have a different way of looking at it.

                  Good Day Buddy. 😉

        • Rich H

          He was saying on the slim chance he is a Profar or Castro type and screams through the minors he may be on the prospect list in a year. If not then it will be 3 or 4 years. Think of how long we have been hearing about Jefferey Baez and he has just now gotten to Arizona.

  • Jono

    Good news. Not sure what people are worries about. The cubs are givings Scott Baker $5 million this year just to rehab. Maybe this kid does pay off in 5, 6 years. Long term thinking is a good thing. MLB doesn’t come to an end in 2017

    • pete

      Are you sure? I thought there was something in the Mayan calendar about that.

      • Jono

        I haven’t confirmed that, let me double check….but seriously, long term thinking seems to be underestimated

  • Stinky Pete

    Curious to see if this will instigate a detente with Sosa. Maybe if this young man can move up the system.

    • hansman1982

      Tensions have been running high since the Pintrest Picture Crisis.

  • jt

    As the MLB Cubs core develops, there could be a wave of prospects that can only be used in trades. The 40 man count is set at 40. But that may allow them to bring mature players to a contending team.
    It is comforting to see them working on establishing a “younger” wave to replace the currently considered maturing core.

  • Mr. Gonzo

    It’s the little things like this that take a ball club and their farm system from good to great. Targeting market inefficiencies and going for big impact players in a yet baseball-mature area of the world is another sharp strategy that should pay off in the long-term. What’s better is we get them at 16ish, with more control over their development and maturity. It only takes one of these kids to pay off in a big way to make it all worth it. If/When that happens, we’ll all be more excited about these signings in the future.

  • JoeyCollins

    I’m gonna give myself a little credit on this one. A few weeks ago when discussing international free agents someone asked if having guys from the DR, Columbia, Venezuela, etc. would help sign have an influence getting guys to sign. I responded then that it probably wouldn’t matter for your older guys who can still get blown away with money, but when the spending pool kicked in, and the offers were only a couple 100K apart, instead of a couple million, we might start to see guys sign with teams they are more comfortable with instead of taking the biggest offer. Money will always be the biggest factor, but the Cubs academy in the Dominican, along with a large scouting presence, and a track record of signing these young guys and getting them to the big league (Castro), will definitely help sway guys our way when the money is equal, or at least close. Great work by the Cubs yesterday identifying what they want, forming a plan to get it, and executing. I’m sure this all took a ton of time, thought, and effort, from a lot of people, and to see it all come together in one hectic day is impressive.

    • BluBlud

      I hated the Feldman trade, but overall, the FO gets a A in my book for the last 48 hours.

      I look at it like this. I don’t know if any of these guys will make it or not. And to tell the truth, I don’t really care if they do or don’t. The point is, theo, Jed and who ever else came up with a game plan that they trust and executed it without a flaw. At least that’s the way it appears to me. So if we go 0-4 with these, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is our FO has an ability to get done what they plan out. We may sign 4 guys like this in 2014 and go 4-4, but at some point, the ability to set a plan to aquire top talent, and then execute that plan will only make our team stronger in the long run.

      I hated the Feldman trade, but overall, the FO gets a A+ in my book.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        “I look at it like this. I don’t know if any of these guys will make it or not. And to tell the truth, I don’t really care if they do or don’t”

        You don’t mean this do you? You are a Cub fan?

    • Jared

      There is no doubt in my mind the DR facility has already paid dividends. My question is, why doesn’t every MLB team have a facility like this down there? It seems like the cost to build and implement one would be well worth the return down the road. Does it also make sense to have facilities in Venezuela, Colombia, etc?

  • Ivy Walls

    You all are missing the point. It is not the who or individual signings/contracts that is of import, it is the culture, the organizational purpose and effort towards how the organization puts talent on the end product. Action and commitment by organization is measured in $$$ spent.

    So now the Cubs have turned around the focus of their talent development portion of the organization in what 2-3 years. Waiting another week or so when/if Bryant is signed, which I think these signings go to a hidden problem where Boras/Bryant camp probably are not too keen on the Cubs history, but how much over the slot can Bryant delay when he risks not signing. Cubs, not sure.

    The thing is when the trading of FA are done these next two months (hopefully most in July) the system will have even more developmental talent. To me I want to see them assemble the best organization in development. The thing is spending $$ in this area is peanuts compared to spending on the Soriano’s, Baker’s, Alou’s, or even trading for the Garza’s.

    • BluBlud

      I agree on all your points but one. Building the system makes trading for the Garza’s, even better players, much easier. If your system is stacked, and you have 8 or 9 guys in the top 100, as opposed to a team that may have 1 or 2, it makes it a lot easier to overpay for talent, with out hurting your team going fowards. Lets be honest. in order to aquire top talent via trade, most times the buyer is going end up with the short end. But the short end for a team with a top system, is much easier to absorb then a team with a bad system.

  • FastBall

    I agree that this is somewhat suspect signing 16 year olds. These Latin American families are probably getting taken advantage of by in country agents/advisors. I don’t think 16 year olds should be signed to professional baseball contracts in any region of the world period. I feel that MLB needs to revisit this sort of conduct. I know it’s been going on for years. That doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t happen in the United States for very good reason. It’s also extremely risky to sign a kid at this age. When I was 16 I pitched and won national championships at almost every age level. Should I have been eligible to sign a contract at 16? Hell No…..

    • Jono

      interesting point, although I think sending millions of dollars from the US to third world countries, pulling up poor people into prosperity, is really hard to argue against. $5 million is a ton of money for us here in the US, but it’s much more for people in these latin american countries. The families of these players now have money that will take care of their family and friends for generations to come. The only “drawback” is that these kids have to now work to earn the money. Boo-hoo.

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  • waffle

    every signing comes with the risk of flaming out. If you expect certainty then maybe sports in general are not for you. The sort of Darwinian approach, lots of minnows = a certain # of big fish works for me. Now it is up to the Org to develop them…there’s the possible rub

  • X the Cubs Fan
    • BluBlud

      He does have any unneeded movement in his swing. A quich hip turn, which turns his shoulders and then a quick follow through with the bat and wrist. He has a buetiful swing, and he’s only 16.

  • Cubswin

    it’s not about if these kids can make an impact in a year or two. Theo and company aren’t expecting these guys to be the ones to turn the cubs franchise around. They know they have to make other trades and free agent signings to be able to get us better next year and hopefully playoff contention the following year. These guys are supposed to hit the farm system when were actually good which would help us have continued sustained success which is what its all about. Last thing we want is to be good for a year or two then be terrible for another 5 years directly after that. Sustained success!!

  • cubzforlife

    If you were able to hear Theo the other night on Kaplans new show you’d realize these guys seem to be focused on one thing. Sustained success. Theo is still a yound dude and he talked about having the greatest job, was still at the office at 8 PM and I doubt Sammy Sosa is even on their radar. To hear him monday night sounding all relaxed and then we all saw what tuesday brought. In my opinion he is the smartest guy in any room he’s in. And the Cubs are lucky to have him.

  • kubphan82

    If this kid doesn’t succeed it’s just more fodder for the Sammy haters…

    Could he bury the hatchet if he succeeds 😉

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  • moving

    Another side dish was a 73-yard run to the bag. And sherry were becoming very popular, in Britain in particular.
    Lime while decreasing the sweetness in my glass.
    In former scales, but let’s keep this high-intensity, high-impact sportsman reasonable, though the media.

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