Today marks the beginning of the new international amateur free agent signing period when teams all across the league add new young talent, mainly from Latin America, to their organization. As I explained in this morning’s primer, team’s have a hard cap this year which they cannot go over. However, it is possible to trade for more pool money from other organizations. The Red Sox did just that on Sunday morning, sending 1B/OF prospect Nick Longhi to the Reds for some of their pool money.
The #RedSox today traded minor league 1B Nick Longhi to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for international amateur signing bonus pool space.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 2, 2017
It is unclear at this time exactly how much pool money the Red Sox received in this deal. We will update you when that information is released.
Longhi is a somewhat intriguing prospect, though he’s never really put everything together as the team would have hoped. Now 21 years old, he was selected in the 30th round by the Red Sox back in 2013, although he fell that far due to signability concerns rather than his talent level.
Longhi is a solid bat who has played both first base and in the outfield, although he’s spent most of this season at first base at Double-A Portland. It’s been an up-and-down season in his first at this level, and on the year he has hit .262/.306/.401 in 252 plate appearances for the SeaDogs. Much of that line is due to a slow start to the year, and he hit .295/.337/.526 over 84 plate appearances in June.
Longhi is a solid bat who has always had big potential, and at just 21 years old there is still plenty of room for growth. The righty has a solid feel for hitting and while he does have some swing and miss in his game he also has a tendency for hard contact. The biggest question mark in his game right now is his power, and it’s the difference between him becoming an everyday player or a bench piece. With the amount of hard contact he makes there is real potential for him in this area, but he hasn’t been able to translate that into in-game power just yet. His .139 Isolated Power in 2017 is a career-high, and that’s not high enough for a corner-only defensive profile.
With that being said, it is still surprising that it took a player of his caliber to get bonus money. Of course, this is a new system so there isn’t really much precedent on which to judge this move. It is also worth noting that Longhi is going to be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, and it wasn’t likely that the team would protect him.
The Red Sox have big plans for this signing period, as they are expected to sign two of the top ten prospects (according to Baseball America) in addition to one other top-50 prospect and other below it. As such, it was always an inevitability they’d have to trade for more than their $4.75 million to make all of that work. Longhi is an interesting prospect who could very well flourish in a new organization, but the Red Sox obviously felt it wasn’t going to happen here and used him to add more potential to the lower levels of their minor-league system.
The Red Sox have also traded Imeldo Diaz and Stanley Espinal to the Cardinals for more international pool money.
Red Sox trade minor league INFs Imeldo Diaz and Stanley Espinal to Cardinals in exchange for international amateur signing bonus pool space.— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) July 2, 2017
Both infielders have been playing in Lowell for this season. Diaz has a career .538 OPS between the Dominican Summer League, the Gulf Coast League and the New York-Penn League. Espinal has a career .682 OPS in the same leagues.