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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


International Free Agents Newsbeat

Monday, November 09, 2015

Twins win $12.85 million bidding for Korean slugger Byung-ho Park

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Twins submitted the high bid at $12.85 million, which is amusing because the Twins were one of the few teams not linked to Park in various reports. No one saw this coming.

Minnesota now has a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Park, who hit .343 with 53 homers, 146 RBIs, and a 1.150 OPS in 140 games for Nexen this season and has topped a 1.000 OPS in each of the past three years. Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang had similarly amazing numbers in the same league two years ago and went on to hit .287 with an .816 OPS in 126 games as an MLB rookie.

As a first baseman Park would be a bit of an odd fit in Minnesota given the presence of Joe Mauer at first base and Miguel Sano at designated hitter, but Sano played third base in the minors and the Twins have talked recently about getting him some reps in the outfield too.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Teams Over Their International Bonus Pools -

Ben Badler does a great job running down all the moves and signings so far.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 10, 2015 at 10:20 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: international free agents, prospects

Friday, July 03, 2015

Dodgers acquire four Minor Leaguers in moves |

If understand the slot system, this means the Dodgers got four players and saved spending $1.3 million, which further reduces their pool, which means they will pay a higher tax on the money they already spent. Right?

With the two deals, the Dodgers acquired four players for $1,320,300 in overage tax for international signings.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 03, 2015 at 08:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: international free agents

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In Venezuela, the difficult search for the next José Altuve

In 1998, around 20 Venezuelans were playing in the MLB. In 2014, they numbered almost 100.

In those 16 years, Santana and Félix Hernández won three Cy Young Awards between them; Cabrera won the Triple Crown and was twice named MVP; Ordóñez, Altuve, Cabrera and Carlos González won six batting titles; García, Santana, Hernández and Aníbal Sánchez had the lowest ERA during seven different seasons; and Francisco Rodríguez smashed Bobby Thigpen’s saves record.

Ordóñez, Altuve, Valbuena and many others would never have even signed if it weren’t for the academies.

But the boom of the schools has dwindled in the past 15 years. Less than a quarter of the original teams still have a presence in the country. The Venezuelan Summer League is down to just four teams: the Phillies, Tigers, Cubs and Rays. A fifth team, the Twins, still has an academy but doesn’t participate in the league.

“We are left vulnerable to what’s happening in Venezuela, like everyone else,” said a member of one of those teams who asked to remain anonymous. “We are also affected by insecurity and scarcity.”

The land of Luis Aparicio suffers from the highest inflation rate in the world, at about 100 percent, according to independent economists (the Central Bank of Venezuela hasn’t delivered its monthly figures since the end of 2014). The crime rate, especially murders in low-income areas, is among the highest on the planet.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Do Puerto Rican ballplayers belong in a stateside or potential international MLB draft?

“The biggest problem in Puerto Rico is lack of dedication,” Posada said. “In Puerto Rico there is less of a need to play baseball. But the draft also makes it tough. You have kids here who are 16 and 17 competing against kids in the states who are already in junior college. So we just try our best to give them a good start, help them develop the tools, bodies, arms and the rest will come.”

But what about the big elephant-in-the-room question? Isn’t asking Caribbean scouts to find Puerto Ricans for the stateside draft a little like asking the goat to guard the lettuce?

As a scout, there is much more incentive to discover (and hone) young talent in neighboring Dominican Republic, Venezuela and now Cuba, and sign them to the club the scout works for. There’s much less impetus to develop or find hidden gems in Puerto Rico and then serve them up to a new player draft for rival clubs.

“The only incentive a scout in Puerto Rico has to find talent is the pride of wanting to pick the best for Puerto Rico,” Big League Team Elite coach Rodríguez said.“I have seen scouts who will say about a kid with good potential: ‘I’m going to hide him.’ But in Puerto Rico that is not possible.”



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