We were waiting for the Trade Deadline for a number of reasons (most of which did not come to pass), and waiting for the deadline to pass for at least one reason: that’s when top international prospect Eloy Jimenez was expected to officially sign with the Chicago Cubs.
And, according to reports out of the Dominican Republic – including this one, complete with a picture, from ESPN Deportes’ Dionisio Soldevila – it’s now a done deal, with Jimenez getting $2.8 million and $250,000 for college. Jimenez, 16, was generally considered the top prospect in the Dominican Republic this year, and likely in the entire international class. You can read more about him here. (UPDATE: And the Cubs confirm the signing.)
With Jimenez in the fold, and the Cubs officially way, way over their international pool allotment, they can no longer trade for additional pool space (not that such a trade was all that likely at this point anyway).
According to reports, the Cubs’ international signings break down thusly:
Eloy Jimenez – $2.8 million
Gleyber Torres – $1.7 million
Jen-Ho Tseng – $1.625 million
Jefferson Mejia – $850,000
Erling Moreno – $650,000
Yohan Matos – $270,000
That’s a total of $7,895,000.
After various early month trades, the Cubs’ international signing pool stood at $5,520,200. That means, after officially inking Jimenez, the Cubs have exceeded their pool by some 50%. The harshest penalty kicks in at a 15% overage, so, yeah, the Cubs are going to face the stiffest penalty: a 100% tax on the overage, plus the inability to sign any player next year for more than $250,000.
As I’ve written previously, suffering this punishment – particularly where the Cubs believe this year’s class to be better than next year’s – isn’t the worst thing in the world, and, indeed, can be worked to the Cubs’ benefit. Although the Cubs will be limited next year, they’ll still be permitted to spend or trade their entire allotment. They won’t be in on the biggest names, but you can still find great players at $250,000. Where they can’t, they can now trade some of their pool for prospects or Major League players. Win, win, win.
Further, since the Cubs are already well into the harshest penalty, they can now keep on signing players this year, so long as they’re willing to pay the tax (so, signing a $500,000 player will cost $1 million). Most of the top youngsters have already signed, but at least one top five prospect (to Baseball America), third baseman Luis Encarnacion, is not eligible to sign until August 9, when he turns 16. So we’ll see.