A report from ESPN Dallas has the Rangers shattering a record to sign Dominican Republic outfielder Nomar Mazara on Friday, the first day international prospects are eligible to sign provided they reach age 17 by Sept. 1. The 16-year-old Mazara is reportedly due a bonus of over $5 million, which would outstrip the Athletics' payout of $4.25 million to starting pitcher Michael Ynoa back in 2008.
The team also reportedly added anothing 16-year-old Dominican outfielder by the name of Ronald Guzman for $3.5 million, Sports Illustrated reveals.
Mazara, who also drew interest from the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Athletics, is already 6-foor-5 and hits from the left side of the plate, a trait that Guzman shares. GM Jon Daniels refused to confirm any signings, but did speak to the Rangers' overall approach to international free agency, which is not governed by the same rules as the amateur draft. Any player who does not reside in the United States or territories is free to sign with any team of his choosing.
"It's fair to say we planned to be active in the international amateur market this year, consistent with our goal of adding the best talent possible in all arenas," Daniels said. "Our scouts have put in a lot of work to put us in position to do just that, and ownership continues to support us. Can't say enough about both groups' commitment to seeing us win."The Royals also shelled out quite a bit of money Friday, handing $3.1 million to Elier Hernandez, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic.
Baseball America reports that Hernandez's bonus is the third-highest of any international amateur player excepting Cuban defectors and Mazara's reported bonus. Hernandez ranks behind Ynoa and Miguel Sano, who earned $3.15 million from the Twins in 2009. It is also the highest bonus for any Dominican outfielder, Mazara excluded.
BA says Hernandez was one of the best prospects coing out of Latin America along with Mazara and Guzman, and "has a major league body and explosive bat speed from the right side."
Here are the other international free-agent signings that occurred, with links to the Baseball America story should you want to learn more:
- Cubs sign shortstop Enrique Acosta for $1.1 million. (Link)
- Mariners sign outfielder Helsin Martinez for $2 million. (Link)
- Mets sign pitcher Luis Mateo for $150,000. Mateo was a hot name three years ago, but had deals nullified with the Giants and Padres and later served a year's suspension for lying about his age. (Link)
- Pirates sign outfielder Harold Ramirez for $1.05 million. (Link)
- Padres sign catcher Jose Ruiz for $1.1 million. (Link)
- Tigers sign third baseman Adelin Santa for $750,000. (Link)