The other day we learned that the signing bonus for Padres RHP Cesar Gonzalez was worth $325,000. Gonzalez to this point is best known for being the last of five players granted free agency by MLB after the Red Sox were punished for intentionally circumventing the international bonus pools.
We aren't stopping there though as we have more news on the international free agent (IFA) front.
- One of the top ranked catchers in the class, Venezuelan David Garcia who signed with the Rangers, locked down an $800,000 signing bonus. This is the third largest bonus given to a catcher this signing period behind Abrahan Gutierrez ($3.5M from ATL) and Alison Quintero ($830K from SD). Ranked as the 7th best prospect by Baseball America, Garcia is a switch hitter with a compact swing listed at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. Considered by some to be the best catching prospect in the class, Garcia has quick hands, can hit from both sides and uses the whole field. He has the potential to be an above average catcher defensively as he moves well behind the dish, has soft hands, and can already frame pitches. He also has strong wrists which help him with his framing.
- Astros right handed pitcher Angel Macuare, ranked as the 40th best prospect by Baseball America, pulled in a $695,000 bonus from Houston. The 6-foot-2 Venezuelan tips the scales at only 175 pounds, but he already tops out in the mid-90's with his heater. He also features a curve ball and change up in his repertoire with his hook being far ahead of the change. Scouts are intrigued by his power arm, but also have questions about his "feel for pitching" and command.
Bonus amounts were also released on a pair of Mariners bonus babies, SS Alexander Campos and OF Luis Veloz. Each garnered a bonus north of the $500K mark with Campos, a Venezuelan who barely cracked Baseball America's Top 50 International Prospects list at #49, receiving a $575,000 bonus while the Dominican native Veloz pocketed $525,000. Campos is a speedy shortstop with major international experience as a part of Venezuela's Pan American team. He's only listed at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, but can really fly and is geared to go the other way with a line drive swing.
Luis Veloz is the exact opposite with a projectable 6-foot-2, 170 pound build that generates solid power. He's shown scouts good bat speed, but a hitch in his swing could lead to strike out issues. He profiles as a future right fielder with a strong arm and decent speed and also has more game experience than most IFA's as a participant in both the Dominican Prospect League and International Prospect League.Veloz was ranked 29th in the previously mentioned rankings.
- Rays outfielder Roimer Bolivar, another Venezuelan, was put into a sticky situation earlier in the year. Bolivar was the highest profile player with a deal in place with the Red Sox before MLB dropped the ban hammer on them, leaving Bolivar and other Venezuelan prospects to scramble to find new teams. With most teams already using up their bonus pool allotment, Bolivar was only able to get a $280,000 bonus from Tampa despite being ranked as the 31st best prospect. Considered a raw, yet projectable outfielder at 6-foot-1 165 pounds, Bolivar's tool package is highlighted by his strong arm, above average speed, and loud contact. He's got strong hands, but lacks an approach at the plate and is prone to chasing pitches out of the zone. According to scouts, he is very raw defensively and lacks many of the nuances of roaming the pastures of the outfield. He doesn't have the instincts you'd want to see and the game can speed up on him.
- We also have info on another Venezuelan outfielder inked by the Rays, Diego Infante. Since Tampa is in the second year of a two year ban on signings of more than $300,000, the Rays maxed out their allowance by giving Infante a $300,000 signing bonus. Ranked as the 18th best prospect by Baseball America, the lean 6-foot-2, 175 pound righty profiles best as a left fielder with an average arm and average speed. He has the offensive tools to produce there too, with a short, simple swing that generates loud contact. Infante projects to have above average pop by way of his good bat speed and extension on his swing, but may not be a high average hitter with his propensity to come up empty on breaking balls.
- Other AL East signings topping the $100,000 mark include Rays short stops Abiezel Ramirez ($300K), Angel Lopes ($275K), and Luis Arcendo ($100K); Yankees short stops Jose Devers ($250K), Oswald Peraza ($175K), and Asdrubal Alvarez ($150K); Blue Jays short stop Hugo Cardona ($300K); Rays RHP Wikelman Ramirez ($250K), Blue Jays RHP Roither Hernandez ($150K), Rays 2B Amador Arias ($210K), and Yankees RHP Carfred Espana ($125K).