The 2014-15 International Free Agency period opens up today at 8am CT in what figures to be a crazy day around baseball.
The excitement for Chicago Cubs fans is not what you would typically expect from today, as we won’t see the organization in on any of the big names like they were last year. As I laid out yesterday, the Cubs blew out their budget in the last signing period, which means they can’t sign any individual player in this period for more than $250,000. That’s enough to get some good prospects and lottery tickets, but not nearly enough to be attached to the biggest names.
But with a huge international spending pool, and the ability to trade some of that pool, we could see the Cubs involved in plenty of wheeling and dealing today. That could mean trades of bonus slots for players or prospects, or it could mean packaged deals involving Cubs pieces like Jason Hammel and/or others.
Suffice it to say, I am not baiting you when I suggest that today could be very exciting and busy, so you’ll want to stay tuned. It’s not a lock that anything will happen, but, given the Cubs’ bonus pool size and restrictions, it’s hard to see them not making a move at some point – and slot deals tend to be negotiated in advance of today, and then effectuated today.
Also, a fun note on the anniversary of the day the Cubs showed their IFA strategy hand (SIGN ALL THE PROSPECTS): the top international prospect from last year’s class, Eloy Jimenez, just started for the first time last night in the Arizona Rookie League, going 2-4 with a double. The number two prospects in the class, Gleyber Torres, played alongside Jimenez, going 3-3 with a walk. Torres is already hitting .313/.410/.469 as a 17-year-old shortstop in rookie ball, which is incredible. Jen-Ho Tseng, another top signee from last year, is dominating at Low-A Kane County in his first professional season (how about 51 Ks and 7 BBs in 50.1 innings?), and he’s just 19.