Teams are limited to $2.9 million total to spend on International free agents. This comes on the heels of the Dodgers signing Yasiel Puig to a 7-year, $42 million deal -- the largest contract for a Cuban defector.
The four players the Dodgers signed are 16 years old. If that didn't make you feel old, here's one more: they were born in 1996.
From Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
"(T)he Dodgers on Monday announced the signing of a quartet of 16-year olds.Of course there's a former player's son in this group. It would have almost been disappointing if there wasn't.
The Dodgers signed Mexican pitchers Lenix Osuna and Victor Gonzalez, as well as Venezuelan pitcher William Soto. Osuna is the son of former Dodgers pitcher Antonio Osuna.
'We are pleased to announce we have been extremely active in the July 2nd signing period and have signed multiple players with more on the horizon,' said assistant general manager Logan White in a statement. 'We are able to get three fine young arms with bright futures.'
The Dodgers also signed Mexican catcher Julian Leon, whom White called "one of the best catching prospects on the International market."
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles TImes reported the total spent on the four players was roughly $1 million."
They also signed Dominican shortstop Cristian Gomez, who is also 16 years old. From Ben Badler of Baseball America:
"Gomez, 16, is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds and stands out in the field with soft hands, good range and an average arm. He's an instinctive player in the field and has gap power from the right side of the plate. Terms were not available but Gomez was expected to sign for a low six-figure bonus.
Gomez is from Nizao and trained at La Academia. His trainer is Alberto Mercedes, better known as "Pelkin" in the Dominican Republic, where his recent players have included Indians shortstop Dorssys Paulino and Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte, two of the better shortstops in short-season ball."
The fact is these guys will not play this year due to the rules and they won't even be on the prospect map for a couple years at minimum. White always speaks well of his signings and draft picks, so it isn't surprising to hear him praise the signings.
It's almost like the Dodgers are so amped up to get back into the international scene that they overpaid for Puig (which I don't have a problem with ) and can't wait to hype up the players they sign -- even if said players aren't viewed among the top International free agents available. They also sent out a press release earlier this season announcing they had signed some 20-plus international free agents. It's a good PR move, but that kind of thing happens every year. It's not uncommon.
So, it'll be interesting to see how these guys develop and how many more international free agents the Dodgers can land. Aside from Puig, no one they've signed were among the top international prospects. Six of Baseball America's Top 20 International free agents are still available. I'm hoping the Dodgers can land at least one of them, but preferably multiple (as the Blue Jays, Phillies, Rays and Yankees have).