Today is a big day on the baseball calendar as it represents a new chance for teams to bolster their farm systems. The draft is the most high-profile date through the year when new professionals enter organizations around the league, but those are only for players who play amateur ball in the United States. For all others, there is the international signing period.
This is a complicated part of the calendar, and it really lasts all year. Not too long ago, teams had a soft cap that they could exceed, but if they did they were restricted on who they could sign in the following signing period. This is what happened to the Red Sox following the summer they signed a big class headlined by Yoán Moncada. In the last CBA, however, the rules were changed and teams now have a hard cap they cannot surpass. That said, they can trade pool money to other teams to acquire more space.
Overall it’s a somewhat complex process and one that is rife with corruption. The majority of top players sign right on July 2, and in reality have agreed to terms with teams as early as two years prior to the signing period. Since we’re talking about 16-year-olds signing the deals, that means they were only 14 when a lot of the deals we’ll be hearing about today were actually unofficially finalized. The entire process is very shady and kind of gross. Additionally, there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to get updated scouting reports of a lot of these guys since they’ve been working out with their future organizations for two years. As a result of all this, Baseball America has stopped ranking international prospects. Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline still do, though, for what that’s worth.
As for the Red Sox themselves, they are not connected to any of the top names this year according to the two rankings referenced above. Boston has a pool of $5,398,300, which is the base with which every team starts. As with any other team, they can trade for up to 60 percent of that total throughout the next calendar year. According to Baseball America, the Red Sox are well-connected in Venezuela, which is very typical of them. They have the Red Sox in agreement with outfielder Juan Chacon, shortstop Johnfrank Salazar and Jhostnyxon Garcia.
While none of those three are ranked on Fangraphs or MLB Pipeline, it is worth mentioning two things. For one, the Red Sox have a very strong history at identifying talent in the Latin market and developing it, particularly on the position player side. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers were both highly-touted international signees, for example. They have also done well with some who were not as highly touted. Among the top ten prospects in the organization on Sox Prospects four (Bryan Mata, Darwinzon Hernandez, Gilberto Jimenez and Antoni Flores) were international signees. Furthermore, only Flores was signed for more than $25,000. On top of all that, while July 2 is the big day in this period there will be 364 more days of signings. Remember, Moncada wasn’t signed until February. There’s plenty of time for the Red Sox to make a splash in this market, even if it doesn’t appear they will do so today.