One great bit of news from this weekend for the Cubs: they were able to parlay the Orioles’ desire to keep reliever Pedro Araujo, a past Rule 5 pick from the Cubs, into $750,000 in IFA pool space for the current signing period, which has about two months left. The Orioles loaded up on pool money for an ultimately unsuccessful run at top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa, so they likely had a lot more than they could actually spend before this period is up.
For the Cubs, who were otherwise just about tapped out, they might now have just shy of about $1 million left to dangle for late-arriving IFA prospects like Cuban shortstop Yolbert Sanchez (but that’s probably not going to happen, as he’s likely to command more than that). Otherwise, with MLB and the Mexican League finally figuring out how to handle the signing of prospects, Arizona Phil mentions that there is a quality trio of prospects that are now available to teams like the Cubs that still have money left to use: RHP Jaime Melendez, RHP Jose Angel Valenzuela, and/or C Fernando Villalobos.
I won’t pretend to know anything about those guys individually, but I will say that, because of the yearlong hold-up in Mexican prospects being available to MLB teams (ironically kicked off by the Cubs getting screwed out of a prospect), and because of the late-period finalization of that deal between MLB and the Mexican League, it is absolutely possible that some of the guys still on the market from Mexico are actually top-tier guys. Also, the Cubs obviously have built up a strong scouting/relationship pipeline out of Mexico the last few years, so they probably already had a leg up on other teams.
So, ultimately, the Cubs might have just “sent” Pedro Araujo to the Orioles for a couple quality international prospects. Not a bad trade for the Cubs when all it cost them was a guy who hasn’t been in the org since 2017 (and who, although talented, has been absolutely terrible in his big league time).