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venezuelaAmidst the tumult of a relatively quiet and thrifty offseason, it’s easy to forget that there was a time this year that the Chicago Cubs were the spendiest team in all of baseball. The time? The international signing period, of course.*

This year, the Cubs blew through their international signing pool allotment to grab the top two international prospects this year – Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, and Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres – as well as two top 30 pitchers in Jen-Ho Tseng and Erling Moreno, and another pitcher (Jefferson Mejia) would would likely have been in the top 30 if he were eligible for those lists.

Now the Cubs have reportedly added another top 30 international prospect to the group: Venezuelan infielder Wladimir Galindo, whom MLB.com ranked 25th in this international class. No word yet on the bonus he received, and the Cubs have not yet confirmed the signing. The original report comes from El Siglo in Venezuela (complete with pictures of a young man, identified as Galindo, donning a Cubs shirt), and he appears to be confirming the signing on his Twitter account (which appears to be his Twitter account, but obviously those things aren’t 100% in situations like this).  It actually looks like he agreed to terms back on December 4, but didn’t finalize the deal until this week. I guess wait for the official confirmation from the Cubs before locking Galindo into the Cubs’ class, but, on the balance, the evidence looks pretty strong that this signing is legit.

Galindo, who just turned 17, is listed by MLB.com as a shortstop and a third baseman, though it sounds like the latter is more likely to be his position going forward. He’s already a big kid – 6’3″ and 210 lbs – with power and athleticism. He’ll almost certainly play in the Venezuelan Summer League next year before possibly making the leap to the Arizona Rookie League in 2015.

Most 16/17-year-old players sign shortly after the signing period opens up in early July, so the timing of Galindo’s signing is a little atypical. It’s unclear why he waited, but, since he couldn’t play until next year anyway, all’s well that ends well. It’s another big feather in the Cubs’ international cap (some organizations will go the entire signing period without inking a single prospect of Galindo’s caliber, let alone six), and the hope is that a couple of these youngsters will emerge as relevant prospects in a couple years. Yes, that’s a low bar, but one must be realistic about teenage signings.

I remain thrilled to see the organization taking a very long, very sustainable view.

*(The Cubs also spent more than any other team in the Draft this year. Cheaper than spending in free agency, sure, but at least the Cubs are putting their money where the metaphorical mouth of The Plan is.)

  • Edwin

    So, does this signing affect that international cap thing?

    Also, where would a player like Galindo (and even the other international FA the Cubs signed) rank in terms of the MLB draft? What round would a player like Galino normally go in?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I really like what the Cubs have done on the international free agent scene this year. They are way over the cap and into penalty territory, but they are still spending. And this is the year to do it given the rule changes next year.

    That is another big kid. Size doesn’t matter greatly in case like this, but he is about as big as Jimenez and the Cubs are thought to be considering starting Jimenez in Arizona. This guy most likely goes to the VSL, but that will be something to keep an eye on.

    • Edwin

      Luke,

      Maybe you can help answer my question above.

      Also, if the Cubs had decided to not go over the cap and into penalty territory, what would their international FA class look like? Who are the “Net” players gained by going over the cap, and where would they rank in terms of draft picks?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Ranking these guys as if they were draft picks is tough to do and probably doesn’t make sense anyway. Drafted players tend to be eighteen or twenty (high school senior or college sophomore respectively) whereas these players are still sixteen or seventeen. That year makes quite the difference.

        It won’t be until they start playing in the United States that I’ll be able to start comparing these new players to the players currently in the system with any kind of confidence (and not a lot even then).

        As for how many extra the Cubs have been able to sign… I’m not certain off hand and I’m on the road right now and can’t pull that data. If Brett doesn’t have the info, look for an article by Ben Badler on Baseball America a few months back talking about the Cubs blowing out the cap.

        • C. Steadman

          luke do have twitter? i follow Brett and Jay…just wanted to complete the BN writing team on twitter

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Luke is a must follow: @ltblaize.

            • C. Steadman

              thanks!

        • Edwin

          I’m not really trying to rank them, as much as I’m curious about how their value compares to the MLB draft. I’m trying to figure out if it was worth it for the Cubs to go over the international FA spending cap, and to suffer the penalties for next year.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        You can see the list of guys, with their bonuses (except Galindo) in the context of the Cubs’ overall pool at the two links in the paragraph in this post about the guys the Cubs have signed. Without blowing the budget, the Cubs probably could have squeezed in Jimenez, Torres, and Moreno (but only if they’d landed each of the three, and been able to perfectly project their bonuses in advance). So I guess you could think of the rest as the extra gains.

        • Edwin

          Thanks. I’m just trying to get an idea for what the Cubs actually gained. It sounds like they probably would have been able to land Jimenez and Torres without going over, so I’ll attribute the rest as “gains”. Thanks!

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            They gained high upside, high bust (due to age) kids. Hard to say what round they are, because every round has a purpose. Only Jimenez and Torres would have ever been considered for the first round or so. Beyond that, most of these are top 10 rounds. Upside with no projection due to age. They aren’t done growing. They are nowhere near refined. Just a mold at this point. Any tools they can flash at this age is a plus.

            • Edwin

              Sure. The question is, are the players they gained by going over their cap worth losing the ability to sign top IFA’s next year? To answer that, I think it’s helpful to try and figure out kind of talent we’re dealing with.

              • Pat

                I look at it this way. This year we were able to sign six top talents (top being relative to the pool) and next year we won’t be able to sign any.

                Without going over the pool limit that would have been 2 or 3 each year. In all likelihood we gained one or two better prospects by going over this year when you look at the two years combined.

  • Boogens

    “…it’s easy to forget that there was a time this year that the Chicago Cubs were the spendiest team in all of baseball.”

    “I remain thrilled to see the organization taking a very long, very sustainable view.”

    Agree 100% on both points.

  • forlines

    “I remain thrilled to see the organization taking a very long, very sustainable view.”

    This, to a T. I’m not going to lie and say that i’m completely pleased with the overall state of the Cubs, but to see how potentially stacked we could be for years to come, i’m fine with being patient (annoyed, but patient, that is).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Annoyed, but patient. That’s pretty much perfect.

  • David

    Man, are we gonna be awesome in 2017. I can’t wait.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That may well be true, but not because of guys like Galindo. He’ll barely be 20 when the 2017 season starts, so it’s highly unlikely that he’ll impact the Cubs’ success that year.

      Oh. You were being sarcastic. My bad.

      • David

        Sarcastic, only a bit. I really do think they’ll be awesome in 2017…. and I’m lookin forward to it.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Just elbowing your ribs. And, yeah, I do think the Cubs could be very, very good in 2017. I just hope they’re “good” a couple years before that. I can be patient on the “very, very” part.

  • Clark Addison

    Hopefully his father didn’t sign over a percentage of his future earnings to some parasitic agent.

  • http://Bleachernation dtbp17

    I think it’s kind of interesting what the cubs are doing with the international signing period,it seems as though their trying to get that longer timed wave of talent. Theo talked about waves of talent coming up to the bigs, and this international class seems like his move to counteract, hopefully, picking lower in the draft and not getting the more “secure” talent. This is 5-8 year plan for impact talent while the big 4 and these next 2 or 3 drafts are 1-3/4 year plans. Go for a big international draft class with less sure, but potentially impact talent, and in the wash you hope you get the equivelant or better of high end draft picks. Favorite blog by the way thank you.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Interesting point – more 16/17 year old talent today becomes the draft-age talent the Cubs might be missing in a few years.

      And a thanks right back to you.

      • abe

        I wonder if the Cubs did this because they are going heavy on pitching in the draft. Causing them to be thin on hitters in the lower levels of the org.

        • SenorGato

          Turner and a catching Alex Jackson are the only position players really in the talk for 4 right now, right?

        • nkniacc13

          They could be planning on going heavy on pitching next year in the IFA market as well even thou they can only spend 250k per player they could maybe get a bunch of arms into their system that way as well

          • CrackerJacks

            If they do keep to the recent plan of positional player first and pitching the rest of the draft or BPA then for me at this moment it’s Alex Jackson. It’s really early still but if they want waves of talent in the future then this kid could be the best player in the whole draft at a premium position.

      • SenorGato

        It’s crazy that if someone like Candelario makes the majors at 22 it would be his 5th/6th year in the organization (if he’s still a Cub). That has to be a major plus – they get these guys at really young, key ages for development at relatively great prices.These IFAs who do make the Cubs will be long time Cubs already, long indoctrinated in the whole Cubs Way stuff we’re supposed to eventually buy into.

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    Which round would each of this year’s International free agents been drafted in the MLB draft? Also, how soon should we expect them to be ready for the majors? Signing so many International free agents this year may make it easier to give up 1st round picks to sign major league free agents for 2015 or 2016.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s really hard to cross-compare in the way you’re asking, because these kids are a lot younger than draft prospects, and haven’t played stateside ball (I’m told that the top teenage talents in Latin countries are playing more of a “showcase-y” game than what you might see 18/19/20 year-olds in the States playing in high school and/or college).

      Safe bet is that none will be big league ready – if ever – for another four or five years. Jimenez and Torres feel like they would have been big-time draft picks, but I couldn’t tell you a round, because they would be valued VERY differently by different organizations in the draft (because they come with so much more risk).

      • C. Steadman

        if i had to guess…i feel Jimenez and Torres would’ve been late 1st or comp picks…but again thats my uneducated guess…Jimenez couldve maybe creeped into the early 20s late teens

      • jeff1969

        Looking at just the Top 30 International list on MLB.com, that the Cubs have signed 5 of those and as Brett mentioned the 6th probably cracking that list if eligible should be pretty encouraging to all Cubs fans. The White Sox signed one, the #2 prospect and they seemed pretty ecstatic about that. The Cubs must have highly valued this crop, thinking that a future international draft process would eliminate the piling up the best prospects with Cub money & charm, and maybe they also just liked this class of players. I for one can continue to watch the crappy ML team as Theo sticks with his massive rebuild. I have been hoping for a youth rebuild for decades. Stockpile, stockpile.

        • D.G.Lang

          As mentioned earlier, The Cubs are building their second wave with the international youngsters. If the Cubs become as good as we expect them to be, they won’t be getting as many high quality players through the regular draft but these youngsters if they develop correctly will be roughly equivalent to higher picks in the American draft due to their years of training and correctly supervised training in the Cubs system.

          Theo and company have really showed how to build a long term sustainable influx of high quality young players. Not only did they consider this years class of international candidates as being loaded, they also correctly identified how they would be even more valuable once the MLB club starts winning and our U.S. draft picks become farther away from the top of the class.

          • Kyle

            I’d wait until some of these international prospects make it to the US and show skills in the domestic leagues before I start showering praise on the front office for the strategy.

            Epstein doesn’t have the most amazing history with IFAs, and these guys are as likely to be a big pile of wasted money in two years as they are to be headlining in Boise.

            Signing talented IFAs is easy. Developing them is hard. If they can do the hard part, *then* I’ll be singing their praises.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Interesting write up about Theo and his first years at Boston and players he signed. Watching whats going on here its very much the same. However it did not mention how many got flipped and how many times they started over each year.
    Brett would have a better take on all that and write about it if he chooses.

  • C. Steadman

    wow 6-3 210 at age 17…if he has to ability to get contact, that ball should be flying off his bat

  • C. Steadman

    i was doin some reading on mlbtraderumors.com and I know there were a lot of people angry about the Scott Baker situation with the set back in rehad and the 5M to only make 3 starts…but came across Ryan Madson where it happened to two teams Reds signed him for 1 year 8.5M and he didnt pitch at all for them in 2012(needed TJ in the spring) and then the Angels signed him for 3.5M for 2013 and he had a set back and didnt pitch for them…so we arent the only ones! :) …im a glass half full kinda guy

    • C. Steadman

      for the record i was one of the people who were angry…but obviously Cubs or Baker didnt see it coming…so my anger is fueled by hindsight

  • SenorGato

    I find the non-DR IFAs to be some of the most interesting IFAs the Cubs have signed. For instance – in 2011 they signed Acosta from the DR and Marcano + Malave from Venezuela. Acosta has pretty much fallen apart as a prospect with major swing and miss issues, and Malave is one of the most interesting 18 year old prospects in the system (especially if he stays at catcher). Marcano is a little less exciting, but hasn’t buried himself yet. Torres and Tseng this year are right with Jimenez, who along with Paniagua is the highest ranked DR guy they’ve signed in a long time (ever? Never really thought about that).

  • chrisfchi

    I wonder when the cubs will address the lack of prospects at catcher.

    • SenorGato

      Hopefully with a trade for a AA or higher catcher that can compete with Castillo (or make him available in a trade). I actually think Contreras and Malave have some real potential, though I wouldn’t say no to piling up more toolsy catching prospects.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      They have some potential catchers deep in the system after taking a number of catchers each of the last few years. Short term the options look limited, but long term they may well be in better shape than we think. It is a little early to say for sure.

      • chrisfchi

        That’s what I was wondering about. We hear so much about how thin we are at backstop, eventually someone has to come up and challenge beef for his job. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few high upside guys at backstop drafted this June

    • ssckelley

      The Cubs took a couple of highly rated high school catchers in last years draft that have potential. But I doubt either of them reach KC next season.

  • Automator

    When are 16 year old international signings subject to Rule 5 considerations? Same as a high school draftee?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes – essentially they are eligible in the 5th Rule 5 Draft after they sign.

      (Which is a little interesting for Galindo, since it’s possible that he technically signed after this year’s Rule 5 – buying the Cubs an extra year. That’ll be some nice trivia five years from now … hello, random internet searcher of the future!)

      • Kyle

        I am not even remotely sure about this, but aren’t most players who sign in the July period technically signed for a contract that begins the following year?

        • X The Cubs Fan

          Yes, but the contract was still signed before this past rule 5 draft.

        • RoughRider

          Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not on their major league organization’s 40-man roster and:

          – were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their SIGNING and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or

          – were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their SIGNING and this is fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder with all the grief the cubs have gotten at ties for not spending if part of the reason they are spending so much Internationally and hopefully in regards to Tanaka as well is because of a clause in Ricketts purchase that allows them to do spend $ this way as opposed to being able to spend it in FA

  • Michael

    Do the Cubs go ahead and sign the last few available top 30 international prospects seeing as they are already way over the spending limit…

  • ssckelley

    Are there any other top international players that are unsigned the Cubs might get? They might as well sign them all.

  • http://bleachernation Nick

    This to me says that the Cubs will have a lot of trade chips in the future. If these kids are eligible for the rule 5 draft after five years, it is hard to imagine finding 6 or 7 spots on the 40 man roster for these kids unless they really pan out. Hopefully the majority of them turn into good prospects and we can have them be nice side (maybe center) pieces in a trade for stud MLB player.

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