Down to the wire, the Chicago Cubs are still grinding internationally. There’s not a ton you can be doing at the moment to improve your organization, but the Cubs are clearly doing what they can.
To that end, with the current (pandemic-extended) International Free Agent period extended to October 15, a whole bunch of additional Cubs IFA signings just came through on the wire this week:
According to MLB, the #Cubs have signed the following International Free Agents:
RHP Jose Romero
RHP Joandy Duran
RHP Yohan Crispin
RHP Waimer Fabian
RHP Jose Lopez
LHP Marino Santy
LHP Angel Hernandez
C Jose Herrera
SS Leonel Espinoza
INF Andrws Cruz
OF Jerry Torres
— MiLB-Transactions (@tombaseball29) October 16, 2020
Per Arizona Phil, that brings the Cubs’ total signees in this period to 35, which is in line with their recent uptick in volume the last few years (around 40 signees the last few years). Given the pandemic and the associated financial and scouting implications, consider me very pleased to learn that the Cubs appear to have operated in this area “business as usual.” These signees are critical to the long-term health of your organization, where even the best of the crop don’t reach the lower Stateside levels of minor league ball for a few years. You don’t want to create gaps in your talent flow because you took a year or two off for the pandemic.
Throw in the fact that the Cubs, by virtue of the CBA and their market size, will always have among the smallest bonus pools in IFA, you like to see them loading up on volume (players signed to very small bonuses do not count against the pool – so that becomes a pure scouting endeavor).
The timing of the signings and the end of the signing period aligns with word that there WILL be instructional ball this fall in the Dominican Republic, which is great news for the Cubs’ youngest prospects.
We’re now in a dead zone for signings, with the next period opening up on January 15. On that day, the Cubs’ expected signings – including top prospect Cristian Hernandez – should become official. Note that international star shortstop Ha-Seong Kim is an experienced pro player coming over in the postseason system and is not subject to the rules and restrictions of the IFA market.