The 2013-2014 MLB international signing period kicked off Tuesday with a record-setting day, as several high-profile players came off the board is a flurry of deals across the league, including the highest bonus ever for a European player, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
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Fifteen of MLB.com's 30 top international prospects came to agreements with big-league clubs on Tuesday, including three of the top five players on the list. While their names are unrecognizable from Adam at the moment, clubs are hopeful that at least a few of the player will become household names in a few years' time.
Here's a quick breakdown of the top players to sign Tuesday -- ordered by their MLB.com ranking -- along with their estimated bonuses:
|Micker Zapata||OF||White Sox||DR||$1.6|
|Rafael Devers||3B||Red Sox||DR||$1.5|
|Yeltsin Gudino||SS||Blue Jays||VZ||$1.29|
|Emmanuel DeJesus||LHP||Red Sox||VZ||$0.78|
This year marks the first time that teams are allotted bonus pools based upon their win-loss record from the previous season -- and just the second year that there are international bonus pools at all -- so the signing period is likely to unfold in new and exciting ways. Adding an extra wrinkle to the dealings is that new rule that allows clubs to add slot money through trades, which the Chicago Cubs took advantage of right off the bat.
The Cubs moved money around in deals with the Astros, Dodgers, and Orioles on Tuesday, which gave the club the freedom to sign Dominican shortstop Gleyber Torres -- No. 3 on MLB.com's list -- and Colombian right-hander Erling Moreno -- No. 17 -- while still leaving room for the possibility of signing the consensus top pick, Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez.
The Texas Rangers were also busy Tuesday by signing four Dominican players -- RHP Marcos Diplan, OF Jose Almonte, SS Yeyson Yrizarry, and SS Michael DeLeon -- all of whom are on the aforementioned Top 30 list. The Kansas City Royals got their feet wet by signing Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini, whose $1.3 million bonus sets a record for a European player.
If one were to declare a winner of the signing period's first day -- in terms of volume, at least -- it would probably be the Toronto Blue Jays. The club reportedly made 14 international signings on Tuesday, including Venezuelan shortstop Yeltsin Gudino -- ranked No. 14.