The 2014-15 international free agent period opened up earlier this week with the Chicago Cubs having the fourth largest bonus pool in baseball, at just under $4 million. Unfortunately for the Cubs (well, fortunately, given what they pulled off last year), they are prohibited from spending more than $250,000 on any one player in this class, which will make it impossible for them to grab any of the big names, and difficult to even spend their entire pool effectively (which is why we’ll almost certainly see them trading a slot or two).
Still, the Cubs are grabbing some guys early in the period. Yesterday, we learned that the Cubs signed Dominican left-handed pitcher Wander Cabrera, and shortstop Yeiler Peguero, each for the $250,000 maximum. And today, there are a couple more names to add to their list.
First, Ben Badler reports that the Cubs have also signed Dominican third baseman Tony Rijo for $100,000. The 6’1″, 170 lbs righty is described by Badler as having quick hands and a line-drive swing. At just 16, we won’t hear much about Rijo until next Summer’s leagues at the earliest.
Next, Kiley McDaniel reports that the Cubs signed a Panamanian player, too: shortstop Francisco Garay. No word on a bonus, and no real scouting report that I can find right now.
Something random and fun about these types of lower dollar (but still pretty high dollar, compared to the average international signing, which is only in the five digits) signings. Last year, the Cubs signed Dominican catcher Yohan Matos for $270,000. This year, as a 17-year-old catcher in the DSL, Matos is hitting .328/.446/.541 with 12 walks and 14 strikeouts. Being that it’s the DSL, these stats don’t necessarily mean anything yet – but it’s a nice showing for such a young catcher in his first league like that.
And he was one of “these types” of signings.