The Cubs are expected to be heavily involved with the top Cuban players subject to the bonus pool. The Cubs have shown interest in RHP Norge Ruiz, OF Jorge Ona and INF/OF Jonatan Machado. And Baseball America reported last month, the Cubs are the considered the favorites to sign LHP Adrian Morejon.
Jesse Sanchez reported the Cubs are among several teams interested in LHP Adrian Morejon, OF Jorge Ona and INF/OF Jonatan Machado. The Cubs attended Norge Ruiz’s showcase earlier this month.
Norge Ruiz, Jorge Ona and Adrian Morejon have not been declared free agents yet. Jonatan Machado is eligible to sign with any team after being declared a free agent by Major League Baseball.
All four players would be subject to International bonus pools.
The Cubs signed five of the top International prospects when the 2015-16 signing period began on July 2. Among the players the Cubs have since signed July include OF Kwang-Min Kwon and OF Eddy Julio Martinez. And in the process the front office has blown past their adjusted International signing bonus pool of $3,169,300.
The Cubs committed $7.65 million to five players on July 2, signed Kwang-Min Kwon for $1.2 million and OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3 million. Based on the multiple reports, the Cubs have spent $11.85 million during the current International signing period that ends on June 15, 2016.
With the Cubs facing the max penalty of 100 percent tax of the overage and not being able to sign a player for two years for not more than $300,000, the front office is expected to add more talent to the organization through International free agents.
Theo Epstein was among the reported 175 scouts and officials that attended a showcase for RHP Norge Ruiz and LHP Cionel Perez at Estadio Quicqueya at the beginning of the month. Both pitchers threw three innings in the Dominican Republic. According to Jesse Sanchez, Ruiz was in the 89-93 mph range and Perez sat in the 93-94 mph range. And Ruiz struck out six batters on 40 pitches.
RHP Norge Ruiz
Norge Ruiz is 21 years old, 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. Ruiz throws three quality pitches according to Jesse Sanchez. Ruiz features a fastball, changeup, slider and a splitter that Ben Badler reported “can be tricky to distinguish from his changeup.”
Ruiz is described as “more of a finesse pitcher.” His fastball sits in the 89-93 mph range and has touched 94 on the gun. His changeup is reportedly an above-average to plus pitch and the slider has flashed above average.
Norge Ruiz has not been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball.
OF Jorge Ona
Jorge Ona is 19 years old, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds. Ona bats and throws from the right side.
According to Jesse Sanchez, Ona has a good approach at the plate “for a player his age.” Ona has a simple swing, quick bat speed with a compact stroke and plus raw power. Ona is a right fielder and his plus arm strength should allow him to stay in the corner outfield spot.
INF/OF Jonatan Machado
Jonatan Machado is 16 years old and plays both shortstop and centerfield. According to reports, Machado hits and bats from the left side and is 5-foot-10, 155 pounds. Jesse Sanchez reported that he’s added mass to his frame in recent months.
Machado profiles as a leadoff hitter and is nicknamed ‘Ichiro.’