Under the current rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the Dodgers are going to be limited in international spending for the next two signing periods. So they are making the most of the current international signing period, reportedly agreeing to terms with two more big-ticket players on Sunday.
The Dodgers have reportedly landed a pair of Cuban teenagers, with a $15.5 million deal for outfielder Yusniel Diaz and $6 million for infielder Omar Estevez, per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
The signings, confirmed by Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, are subject to the players passing physical exams.
Diaz, 18, hit .348/.447/.440 with 13 doubles in 65 games for Industriales in La Serie Nacional. He was rated by Baseball America in April as the 17th-best prospect in Cuba, with Ben Badler saying the 6'1, 185-pound right-hander "has a knack for hitting though with good hand-eye coordination to put the bat to the ball."
Diaz, who was ranked the third-best prospect on MLB.com's international prospect list, defected in May and was cleared to sign by MLB in August.
The second baseman Estevez played for Cocodrilos in Cuba, with Sanchez describing him like so:
Estevez showed above-average power in games and solid raw power in batting practice. He has a muscular body, but he's not too bulky and has been praised for his lateral agility at second base. He doesn't have the strongest arm but shows good actions on defense.
The Dodgers had already committed over $22 million during this international signing period, with Sanchez updating that total - before the Diaz and Estevez signings - to over $23.5 million. All but $700,000 of that will be subject to a 100-percent overage tax, and will limit the Dodgers in the next two international signing periods - July 2, 2016 through June 15, 2018 - from committing any bonuses over $300,000.
Adding Diaz and Estevez to the group that already includes Yadier Alvarez ($16 million), Starling Heredia ($2.6 million), Ronny Brito ($2 million), et all, the Dodgers will have committed over $44 million in bonus money, with nearly another $44 million or so in taxes.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman addressed the Dodgers' aggressive strategy internationally back in spring training.
"We are good at factoring in various costs, whether it's money, whether it's players you give up, whether it's sitting out two international periods, we factor in to the cost of doing business," he said. "Adding depth to our system and having as many quality young players as we can is obviously a focal point."
Known 2015-2016 international commitments
|Dodgers 2015-2016 international signing period|
|RHP||Yadier Alvarez||19||Cuba||Mike Tosar, Patrick Guerrero, Bob Engle||$16,000,000|
|OF||Starling Heredia||16||Dominican Republic||Patrick Guerrero, Franklin Taveras Jr., Manelik Pimentel||$2,600,000|
|IF||Ronny Brito||16||Dominican Republic||Franklin Taveras Jr., Elvio Jimenez, Manelik Pimentel||$2,000,000|
|IF||Oneal Cruz||16||Dominican Republic||Patrick Guerrero, Franklin Taveras Jr., Bob Engle||$950,000|
|OF||Christopher Arias||16||Dominican Republic||Franklin Taveras Jr., Manelik Pimentel, Elvio Jimenez||$500,000|
||17||Dominican Republic||Patrick Guerrero, Bob Engle||$350,000|
|SS||Damaso Marte||--||Dominican Republic||$300,000|
|SS||Luis Rodriguez||16||Venezuela||Jose Briceno, Pedro Avila||$62,500|
|RHP||Ramon Rosso||19||Dominican Republic||Juan Garcia-Puig, Doug Skyles||$62,000|
|2B||Aldo Espinoza||16||Nicaragua||Nemesio Porras, Luis Molina||$50,000|
|Less: Bonus pool||$700,000|
|Overage (100% tax)