The signing barrage that the international baseball cycle has begun. The signings are reported with less accuracy than we're usually used to. The players signed this week are likely to not be included in a box score until next June. Nonetheless, the Cubs are going to add three substantially regarded players.
The years of aggressively spending over limits is gone. Teams are given an amount ($5,398,300 in the Cubs case), and can add 60 percent more in trade (as the Cubs did for $750,000 in space in a trade for Pedro Araujo). It's a soft cap, leading to a hard cap. Like it or not, that's the system. Information is unconfirmed regarding signing bonuses, in many cases. This applies especially to Venezuelan prospects.
As it happens, two of the Cubs top three prospect signings are from Venezuela. Catcher Ronnier Quintero is an offense-first catcher, and his signing bonus is around $3 million:
Source: #Cubs agree to a deal with catcher Ronnier Quintero, #6 on @MLBPipeline’s Top 30 Int’l Prospects list, for an estimated $3 million. https://t.co/VkyT1PafgI— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 2, 2019
A quick back of the envelope equation leaves the Cubs with about $2.4 million remaining.
Also confirmed is shortstop Kevin Made (from the Dominican Republic) for a (reported) $1,700,000:
Source: #Cubs agree to a $1.7 million deal with shortstop Kevin Made, #11 on @MLBPipeline’s Top 30 Int’l Prospects list. https://t.co/VkyT1PafgI— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 2, 2019
Toss in the third key signing, Brayan Altuve ($1,000,000), and the black pen ink on the back of your envelope is hemorrhaging red.
Source: #Cubs agree to a $1 million deal with catcher Brayan Altuve, #30 on @MLBPipeline’s Top 30 Int’l Prospects list. https://t.co/VkyT1PafgI— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 2, 2019
The Cubs limit of a bit under $5.4 million has been exceeded already to $5.7 million. Something doesn't add up.
It could be the numbers aren't accurate. It could be one of the "official signings" is less-than-official. It seems the Cubs would need to trade someone for space to get all three signed. The joys of incomplete information. Either way, it will work out somehow, and the Cubs will add another 15 to 25 names before the next Dominican League season starts. By then, all but these three will (for most people) be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I expect they'll stay in the Cubs facility on Boca Chica until at least January, when the Cubs have Instructional Ball. All three figure to get looks in Mesa next April and May in extended spring training.
Best wishes to all three. The Cubs are better served with a useful international wing, however the players may or may not provide value. Their (lengthy) trip that might lead to Wrigley starts today. I wish I could better justify the financial inconsistencies, but the available information is what it is.