The Chicago Cubs have made some more minor league signings in the run-up to Spring Training, per the team’s transactions page.
The first is a familiar face, as organizational utility man Jonathan Mota is back for another year with the Cubs. At 27, Mota is no longer a prospect, but he is spending his 10th season in the organization – that’s pretty cool. During those 10 years, Mota has played every position. I mean that literally: Mota has played every position, right down to pitcher and catcher. I won’t pretend to know the particulars of Mota’s value to the organization, but I can say with some confidence that a guy with his experience, with his versatility, and with the relationships he’s built, is going to be a good guy to have around.
The other signings are out of Venezuela, youngsters of the “international free agent” variety: outfielder Jose Rojas, infielder Jhonny Bethencourt, and righties Bryan Molina and Freddy Tineo. Outside of their ages and heights/weights that you can find there at their MLB.com pages, there’s nothing more I can offer you on these guys. We know that the cannot sign these IFAs for more than a $250,000 bonus, so none was going to be a tip-top international prospect. Despite those restrictions, though, the Cubs have brought in some international talent this year, and, hey, you never know who could emerge.
The Cubs’ IFA restrictions – which came thanks to the organization’s international spending binge in the 2013/14 class – expire June 15, which is when the current period closes. There are no signings between June 15 and July 2, when the next period opens up. Reportedly, the Cubs are going to blow out their budget again in the next class.*
*(Note that the penalties for blowing out your IFA pool have changed since the Cubs last did it – now, the penalty is an inability to sign any individual players for more than $300,000 for the subsequent two signing periods (subject to the possibility of an international draft kicking in, and changing things). If you’re going to blow it out, then, you better make sure you really load up on talent.)