Amidst 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.)