Flurry of top international prospects inked on first day
Gasparini nets highest bonus ever by European player as signing period begins
The first day of the 2013-14 international signing period was unlike any other in years past and this July 2 will go down as a record-setting day.
And it appears the best is yet to come.
Several high-profile members of MLB.com's Top 30 International prospects signed or came to an agreement with clubs on the first day they were eligible, including Italy's Marten Gasparini, who received the highest bonus ever by a European player when he signed a deal worth $1.3 million with the Royals.
Tuesday will also be remembered as the first time organizations operated under the new set of signing guidelines that gave each team a $700,000 base and a bonus pool made up of four slot values based on its 2012 record, which they are able to trade.
Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 1 on the list, is still on the market and could command a signing bonus close to $3 million, and if he has his way, he could be wearing a Cubs uniform by the end of the week. His agent said Tuesday that Jimenez has decided on the Cubs over another team that offered more money, and Chicago's busy day of trading could open things up for a big contract for the highly touted outfielder.
top 30 international prospect signings
Between their deals with Astros, Orioles and Dodgers, the Cubs added $963,000 in international slot money to up their total pool to $5.52 million. Sources indicated the Cubs also came to agreements with shortstop Gleyber Torres, who is ranks No. 3, for $1.7 million and right-handed pitcher Erling Moreno, ranked No. 17, for $650,000.
Chicago also came to terms with right-handed pitcher Jefferson Mejia for $850,000. The Cubs, who have been the favorite for Jimenez for several months, have not confirmed the signings.
Across town, the White Sox also made a splash on the international market by signing outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata, ranked No. 2, to a deal worth $1.6 million. Gasparini ranked No. 4 on the list, and outfielder Leonardo Molina, who will not be eligible to sign until he turns 16 on Aug. 1, round out the top five.
What's more, third baseman Rafael Devers, ranked No. 6, reportedly agreed to a $1.5 million deal with the Red Sox and sources also indicate the club also agreed on a $780,000 deal with Emmanuel DeJesus, a left-handed pitcher from Venezuela, who ranks No. 28. The club did not confirm the deals.
Sources said the Rangers had quite the busy Tuesday, agreeing to terms with four players, starting with right-handed pitcher Marcus Diplan, ranked No. 8, for $1.3 million, outfielder Jose Almonte, who is ranked No. 13, for $1.8 million, shortstop Yeyson Yrizzary, who is ranked No. 23, for $1.35 million and shortstop Michael Deleon, who ranked No. 27, for $550,000.
Switch-hitting catcher Jose Herrera, who ranked No. 7 and is one of the top stars from Venezuela, turned down a bigger offer from the Astros to sign with the D-backs for just over $1 million dollars, according to sources.
Sources also said the Twins also came to terms on a $1.4 million deal with outfielder Lewin Diaz, who is ranked No. 10.
The Blue Jays announced the signings of 14 international prospects, including shortstop Yeltsin Gudino, who is ranked No. 11. The Cardinals signed four prospects and the Tigers signed four players, three of which were from Venezuela.
Sources said the Rockies were also active Tuesday, coming to terms with right-handed pitcher Erick Julio from Colombia, who ranked No. 14, for $700,000 and Venezuelan shortstop Carlos Herrera, who is ranked No. 15, for $1.2 million.
Milwaukee also announced the signings of five players, including shortstop Franly Mallen, ranked No. 22, and outfielder Nicolas Pierre, ranked No. 28, who each signed for $800,000.
Shortstop Carlos Hiciano from Venezuela, who ranked No. 26, agreed to terms with Oakland for $750,000. The Nationals also entered the fray by announcing the signing of seven international free agents, who hailed from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama.
More members of MLB.com's Top 30 are expected to sign soon, likely in the coming days, except for third basemen Luis Encarnacion, ranked No. 12, and Anderson Franco, ranked No. 16, who won't be able sign until they turn 16 next month.