Yesterday I wrote about how the Cincinnati Reds had a private workout with top 2015 international prospect Eddy Julio Martinez from Cuba. On Tuesday afternoon Jesse Sanchez of had this tweet about the Reds:

The typo on Martinez’ name aside, it’s good to see the organization being so active. Them watching the Dominican Prospect League isn’t much, as every team is likely represented there. The news for a workout with Yusnier Diaz and others is big news though.

We don’t know who the “others” are, but we do know Diaz. He left Cuba in April and for a while, it didn’t look like he was going to be a free agent until the next signing period, but in late August Major League Baseball granted him free agency. Last year in Cuba he hit .348/.447/.440 with 36 walks and 33 strikeouts over the course of 250 plate appearances.

Fangraphs prospect guru Kiley McDaniel, the best in the game in my opinion, projects Diaz to get several million dollars in a signing bonus, but to fall under the $10M price tag. With the Reds showing interest in both Martinez and Diaz, among others, they would certainly go over their pool amount and face the max penalties. If you are going to go over and face the max penalty, you may as well go all out and make it count since you won’t be able to sign any big priced players for two years as a part of the punishment.

The Reds have gone big on the international scene three times before. In 2008 they spent $4.7M to sign outfielders Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez. That was among the most spent in baseball that year among teams on international players. It was really the last time they were big spenders on teenagers on the international scene. In 2009 they signed Aroldis Chapman and just last year they signed Raisel Iglesias. Both of those players signed big league contracts though, something that the guys being looked at this year aren’t expected to be signing.

Let’s take a look at the signings that the Reds have made (non-big league deals) where they signed a player for over $500,000 over the last eight seasons.

2015: Cristian Olivo ($1,000,000) & Miguel Hernandez ($650,000).

2014: None (highest was Jake Turnbull for $400,000).

2013: Jacob Constante ($730,000)

2012: None (highest was to Luis Hernandez for $160,000).

2011: Jonathan Perez ($825,000).

2010: None (highest was Olivel Florentine for $250,000).

2009: None (unsure who got the highest bonus this year).

2008: Yorman Rodriguez ($2,700,000) & Juan Duran ($2,000,000).

The Reds haven’t typically been big spenders. They went all out in 2008, handing out two of the top 20 bonuses paid ever (at the time) in the same season. Over the next two seasons they didn’t sign anyone for more than $250,000. Then they went out and signed Jonathan Perez for a hefty bonus in 2011, then sat back the next year and didn’t sign anyone to a deal worth $200,000. Then followed that up with another mid-tier signing, grabbing Jacob Constante for $730,000. That was followed up last year without a $500,000 signing. This year the Reds are back at it, signing two guys to $650,000 or more deals already. It seems that every other year or so, the team spends on the international market some.

This year they’ve spent some. And they are showing interest in several seven figure players after losing out on some guys early on in the signing period that they were very high on. Is 2015 going to be the year that the Reds “go all-in” on young international players? It would be the first time since 2008 that they have gone that route and as noted above, if you are going to go over your allowed spending, you may as well just go all out. Maybe the team is planning on using some of the savings from the trades earlier this season to bring some young talent into the organization to build for the future instead of perhaps spending it on the 2016 big league roster.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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