As I’m sure you know from your ongoing Shohei Otani FOMO (fear of missing out), the Chicago Cubs are currently unable to sign any international free agent subject to the bonus pool restrictions for more than $300,000.
HOWEVER, you may not have known that there’s a bit of an exception to that rule for Mexican players. According to Ben Badler, Mexican League teams typically keep 75% of a player’s bonus when they’re signed by an MLB team. Because of that discrepancy, MLB has decided to only count the actual dollars going to the player against a team’s individual cap.
So, by that logic, the Cubs’ $300,000 limit is effectively $1.2 million dollars on the Mexican IFA market. And you know what they’re most likely going to do with that extra breathing room? Sign a Mexican pitcher named Florencio Serrano, for $1.2 million.
Indeed, in a report at Baseball America, Badler writes that the Cubs appear set to sign the 17-year-old right-handed Serrano to a deal. Serrano, who’s 6’1″, has a fastball that sits in the low nineties, but has topped out at 94 MPH before, and a sharp-breaking curveball that could be a “future plus pitch.” There is a chance he ends up as a reliever, in Badler’s opinion, but that decision is still a long way’s off.
Luke discussed Serrano’s attachment to the Cubs earlier, and pointed out that he’s supposed to be one of the better arms available. Given that pitching is by far the Cubs’ ever-present white whale – as evidenced by this week’s draft – this seems like an exciting move to make. The more talent the better, and Serrano has the talent.