Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: News Round-up, Maitan
Cardinals Prepared To Exceed International Bonus Pool
BEN BADLER / BASEBALLAMERICA.COM (FEB. 11)
The latest team that could break its international bonus pool when the 2016-17 signing period opens on July 2 might be the most intriguing one yet.
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Several international sources believe the Cardinals are preparing to exceed their upcoming international bonus pool, joining the Padres, Braves and Nationals as teams going over on July 2.
What distinguishes the Cardinals from those teams is that Major League Baseball has yet to issue a decision on whether it will penalize the organization as a result of former scouting director Chris Correa pleading guilty to hacking into the Astros’ information systems. Correa’s responsibility as scouting director was to oversee the team’s draft, not the international department, so much of the focus in the industry has been on whether the Cardinals will lose draft picks as a result of the scandal.
The Cardinals have been connected to multiple players they are likely to sign, including 16-year-old Victor Garcia, who could be the top-paid Venezuelan outfielder this year. They are also the team that sources say is most likely to sign 17-year-old Jonatan Machado, a speedy 5-foot-9 center fielder from Cuba with good bat control from the left side, by convincing him to wait until July 2 to sign.
Ed. notes: Okay, follow me on this one…
Two weeks ago (February 7th, specifically), I had a bit of panic as rumors of the Cardinals getting ready to dive into the International Market were surfacing… and as it was spelled out then, Ben Badler has echoed my thoughts at that time: basically if the Cards are going to be penalized – somehow – then the J2 International market represents a way for them to mitigate any expected penalties.
At the time, one of the Cardinals’ beat writers raised the possibility of going after Kevin Maitan, the prize of this year’s market that the braves are believed to have ready to sign… in another 4½ months. Even this week, other Cardinals blogs are still clinging to this possibility.
- Note that in Badler’s writeup on the Cardinals (full text at the link above), Maitan’s name is not mentioned once… or even hinted at. That despite their connections to Venezuela.
- Any premium athlete will be expensive for them. The Cardinals, as pointed out by Badler) have the lowest bonus spending pool at $2,027,300. Even if they use trades to augment this, the best they’ll be able to do is get to just over $3 million. The Braves, by contrast, can get as high as $7.15 million. Big difference in spending power – even if you do plan on accepting overage penalties
- But finally, there’s this. Kevin Maitan has joined twitter. Guess how he chose to introduce himself to the world?
That does calm my concerns – quite a bit.
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