The July 2 international signing period is around seven weeks away and the Cubs are considered favorites to sign two of the top international prospects. The Cubs’ signing bonus pool for the 2013-14 international signing period is expected to be $4,557,200, the second most in baseball behind the Houston Astros ($4,943,700). For the first time the international signing bonus pool will be tiered based on reverse order of 2012 Major League winning percentage, the same as the first year player draft.
According to a report from Baseball America, the Cubs are expected to be very active but they will “likely award bigger bonuses to two of their top targets and perhaps trade for even more space.”
According to Ben Badler, each of the top ten international prospects is expected to sign for at least $1 million. The Cubs are considered favorites to sign OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres.
The 16-year old right-handed hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic “has a strong, projectable body with a quick bat and a swing path that results in more line drives than loft power” according to Baseball America. Jimenez is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and projects as a corner outfielder. Ben Badler reported Jimenez is expected to receive the highest bonus of this year’s class, which could reach the $2.6-$2.8 million range. The Cubs are considered the heavy favorite to sign him.
The 16-year old shortstop could be the best prospect in this year’s class from Venezuela. Torres is 5-for-11, 185 pounds and is considered a “steady player with present skills” according to Baseball America. Scouts that are high on Torres “see a right-handed hitter who can stay at shortstop with good hands, a strong arm and the ability to hit in games with projectable power that’s surprising for his size.” Some scouts think he could be a better fit at second or third base.
Baseball America thinks he could sign a bonus similar to the one Mark Malave signed in 2011. The Cubs inked the third baseman to a $1.6 million contract.
More on the International Signing Rules
Each team can also sign six players for bonuses of $50,000 or less that do not count against the bonus pool. This year, a player signed for $10,000 or less will not count account the bonus pool as well.
The current international signing period ends on June 15. The time between June 16 and July 1 is considered a closed period in which no one will be able to sign.
Video of Eloy Jimenez