LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Sunday traded left-handed pitcher Jason Wheeler to the Orioles in exchange for international bonus pool space, enhancing the Dodgers’ budget on the first day of the 2017-18 international signing period.
Wheeler was acquired from the Twins on June 2 for cash considerations, and spent most of his time in the organization with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he pitched in three games, allowing 11 runs on 16 hits in 8⅔ innings. The Dodgers designated Wheeler for assignment on June 18 to make room for waiver claim Peter O’Brien, then after clearing waivers Wheeler was sent outright to the minors.
In his one game since, the 26-year-old Wheeler pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Tulsa on June 25.
For their unprecedented expenditure during the 2015-16 international signing period — spending over $45 million in bonuses for Yadier Alvarez, Yusniel Diaz, Omar Estevez, et al., plus another $45 million plus in penalties — the Dodgers have been hamstrung during last signing period and this one, unable to sign any international amateur for a bonus over $300,000.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, there is a hard cap on international spending, and the Dodgers’ limit during the 2017-2018 period is $4.75 million.
They are allowed to trade for up to an additional 75 percent of their pool — $3.5625 million — though it is unknown exactly how much space they netted from Baltimore for Wheeler.
The 2017-18 international signing period started Sunday, and runs through June 15, 2018. There have been a few reported signings already, with Baseball America reporting the following:
OF George Heredia, Dominican Republic ($300,000 bonus)
SS Amin Valdez, Dominican Republic
SS Eddys Leonard, Dominican Republic
SS Jhostin Chirinos, Venezuela
Una brillante actuación de Jhostin Chirinos dió la victoria a nuestros muchachos en nuestro último encuentro de liga pic.twitter.com/FPAXPUDhOv— IBC (@intlbaseballco) June 4, 2016
SS Jorbit Vivas, Venezuela
In addition, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported a $300,000-bonus signing as well: