Each year when the Cincinnati Reds Media Guide comes out one of my favorite things to do is look for all of the new signings. Things have changed in the last year due to the new rules being in place for the most recent signing period. The Reds are in a penalty phase for the spending that they made in the previous signing phase, and thus were unable to spend more than $300,000 to sign a single player.
What they did, though, was trade “cap space” for several prospects – including Nick Longhi and newest prospect Miguel Medrano. With the remaining money they were allowed to spend, roughly $900,000 in total, the team signed 18 players. But, there were a few others who signed towards the end of the 2016 period that are also listed below (the 2016 signing period ended on June 15th of 2017). Here’s the list of players:
The obvious big signing here is Jose Garcia. The Reds spent $10M to sign the Cuban shortstop, paying him half for a bonus and the other half went to Major League Baseball as a penalty. The bonuses for everyone else remain a mystery.
Speaking of mysteries, there’s a name that is notably missing here. Ruben Paz reportedly agreed to sign with the Reds for $100,000. However, he’s nowhere to be found in the media guide. That usually means that either he failed a physical or that Major League Baseball would not approve his contract for some reason. This isn’t the first time this has happened, though it’s a bit rare. Baseball America’s International Signing Tracker made note of two guys listed here, suggesting that they may be prospects of a higher quality. Luis Tejada and Sebastian Almonte were singled out during the first week of the signing period.
When it comes to international signings, most guys sign contracts for the next season. That wasn’t the case for Francis Peguero, though. He was nearly 20 when he signed and was playing in the Dominican Summer League last season within a few weeks of his signing. His usage was limited, pitching out of the bullpen in all eight of his appearances. But, he dominated in 14.2 innings with a 2.45 ERA, just one walk and he struck out 17 of the 55 batters he faced (31%).
Some other interesting things that jump out from the list of signings includes just how tall Jairo Capellan is. Six foot and eight inches tall. That’s a big, big dude. This is a much smaller group of signings than usual. That likely comes down to money – the Reds simply didn’t have as much to spend because of the penalties. Though, you could argue, they could have not traded some of it away and signed more guys, and that’s a solid point. But, they also are only going to have one team in the Dominican Summer League moving forward, so it’s possible that smaller signing classes could be the “new normal”. Time will tell on that one.
Where did the Cincinnati Reds go to sign the newest class of prospects?
Here’s the world map, showing where each player signed from – with the size of the circle representing how many players were signed from that area. The Dominican Republic is almost off of the map, with Santo Domingo representing a huge portion of the signings.