Cubs 2018 International Signing Period (J-2 players)

6/16 UPDATE:

With just minutes left before the midnight (Eastern) deadline, the Cubs signed two more 2018-19 J-2 IFA (both from Mexico), bringing the total number of 2018-19 J-2 IFA signed by the Cubs to 39, including 21 since the Cubs acquired $750K in ISBP space from the Baltimore Orioles this past April in return for allowing the Orioles to keep 2017 Rule 5 draft pick RHRP Pedro Araujo.    

Emir Blanco, RHP 
R/R, 6'2 240, Age 17 

Ricardo Green, RHP 
R/R, 6'2 188, Age 18 



With just one day to go in the 2018-19 ISP, the Cubs have signed three more 2018-19 J-2 IFA, their 35th, 36th, and 37th IFA signed since the start of the 2018-19 ISP last July 2nd:

Jorge Arellano, RHP 
R/R, 5'11 162, Age 20 

Luis Berelleza, OF 
R/R, 5'9 180, Age 19 

Starlin Mateo, OF 
R/R, 6'1 180, Age 16   



Two days before the deadline to sign 2018-19 International Free-Agents (IFA) who are subject to International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) restrictions (so-called "J-2 players"), the Cubs have officially signed six more 2018-19 IFA: 

Elias Fabian OF 
R/R, 5'11 169, Age 18 

Anderson Feliz, RHP 
R/R, 6'3 165, Age 17 

Wilfri Figuereo, RHP 
R/R, 5'6 171, Age 18 

Samuel Rodriguez, LHP 
L/L, 6'3 178, age 17 
Joanfran Rojas, INF 
R/R, 5'11 162, Age 17  

Wilker Ruiz, LHP 
L/L, 6'0 150, Age 17 

So the Cubs have signed 34 IFA since the start of the 2018-19 ISP last July 2nd (see complete list below). 

The deadline to sign 2018-19 IFA is midnight this coming Saturday (June 15th).

There will then be a  "quiet period" (16 days when no IFA who is subject to ISBP restrictions may be signed) before the 2019-20 ISP commences on July 2nd. 



The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Andricson Salvador, LHP 
L/L, 5'11 180, Age 18  



The Cubs have officially signed eight more 2018-19 IFA: 

Yovanny Cabrera, RHP  
R/R, 6'2 180, Age 18 

Enmanuel de la Cruz, RHP 
R/R, 6'2 168, Age 17 

Edgar Gamargo, C 
R/R, 5'10 172, Age 17 

Joel Jimenez, RHP 
R/R, 6'0 160, Age 18

Gregori Montano, RHP 
R/R, 5'11 175, Age 19 

Marco Prieto, RHP 
R/R, 6'2 165, Age 19 

Esmarly Tatis, INF 
B/R, 5'10 165, Age 19 

Luis Valenzuela, RHP 
R/R, 6'2 170, Age 17 

So the Cubs have signed 27 IFA since the start of the 2018-19 ISP on July 2 (see complete list below)


4/25 UPDATE: 

The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Kelvin Abreu, RHP  
R/R, 5'10 140, Age 18 



The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Jonathan Alvarez
, RHP 
R/R, 6'1 160, Age 19 



The Cubs officially signed another 2018-19 IFA:

Cristian More, OF 
L/L, 5'10 170, Age 17



The Cubs have officially signed another 2018-19 IFA: 

Felix Stevens, OF 
R/R, 6'4 235, Age 19 

NOTE: By this time last year the Cubs had signed 33 IFA on their way to a record (for the Cubs) 46 IFA signed by the 6/15 deadline. But that was because the Cubs needed to fill a 35-man roster for the new AZL Cubs #2 affiliate and they did that mainly by promoting about thirty DSL players to the AZL who otherwise probably would have remained in the DSL for another season, and that in turn required signing a much higher than usual number of IFA to replentish the two Cubs DSL squads. The Cubs don't have that issue this year.  



The Cubs have signed three more 2018-19 IFA: 

Ezequiel Alvarez
, OF 
B/R, 5'11 150, Age 16 

Samuel Duarte
, OF 
R/R, 5'11 175, Age 17 

Lizardo Ruiz
, INF  
R/R, 5'11 165, Age 16 



The Cubs have signed one more 2018-19 IFA: 

Manuel Heredia, RHP 
R/R, 6'4 195, Age 21 

Heredia was assigned to the DSL Cubs #1 Furure Services List.



The Cubs have officially signed three more "J-2" 2018-19 IFA: 

Edwin Castillo, INF 
L/R, 6'0 160, Age 19 

Darling Grullon, P 
R/R, 6'4 200, Age 18 

Orlando Guzman, OF 
L/R, 6'0 160, Age 16 

All three were assigned to the DSL Cubs #1 Future Services List. 



The Cubs have officially signed three more "J-2" 2018-19 IFA:   

Jose Lopez, OF
L/R, 5'10 167, Age 16
$1.5M signing bonus
Yander Montero, RHP
R/R, 6'2 175, Age 18 

Rafael Morel, SS-CF
R/R, 5'11 165, Age 16
$850K signing bonus 

All three were "Signed for Future Service" (signed 2019 contract).  



The Cubs have signed two more "J-2" 2018-19 IFA: 

Gabriel Jaramillo, RHP 
R/R, 6'1 178, Age 19

Ronny Simon, INF 
B/R, 5'9 150, Age 18 

Unlike Gallardo, Machado, and Pinango, Jaramillo and Simon were - NOT - "Signed for Future Service" (they will make their debut in 2018). 



The Cubs have officially signed their first three "J-2" 2018-19 IFA: 

Richard Gallardo, RHP
R/R, 6'1 187, Age 16 
$1M signing bonus

Joel Machado, LHP  
L/L, 6'0 165, Age 16 
$850K signing bonus

Yohendrick Pinango, OF 
L/L, 5'11 170, Age 16  
$400K signing bonus
All three have been "Signed for Future Service" (2019 contract), and thus the earliest they can make their field debut is at post-2018 AZ Instructs (TBD).  



Last updated 6-15-2019

* bats or throws left 
# bats both

NOTE: Age listed is the player's age when he signed 

Kelvin Abreu (age 18) - VENEZUELA - 5'10 140 - SIGNED APRIL 2019
Jonathan Alvarez (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'1 160 - SIGNED MARCH 2019
Jorge Arellano (age 20) - COLOMBIA - 5'11 162 - SIGNED JUNE 2019 
Emir Blanco (age 17) - MEXICO - 6'2 240 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Yovanny Cabrera (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 180 - SIGNED MAY 2019  
Enmanuel de la Cruz (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 168 - SIGNED MAY 2019 
Anderson Feliz (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'3 165 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Wilfri Figuereo (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'6 171 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Richard Gallardo (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 6'1 187 - SIGNED JULY 2018 
Ricardo Green (age 18) - MEXICO - 6'2 188 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Darling Grullon (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'4 200 - SIGNED NOVEMBER 2018 
Manuel Heredia (age 21) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'4 195 - SIGNED DECEMBER 2018 
Gabriel Jaramillo (age 19) - VENEZUELA - 6'1 178 - SIGNED JULY 2018
Joel Jimenez (age 18) - DOMINCAN REPUBLIC - 6'0 160 - SIGNED MAY 2019  
* Joel Machado (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 6'0 165 - SIGNED JULY 2018 
Gregori Montano (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 175 - SIGNED MAY 2019  
Yander Montero (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 175 - SIGNED AUGUST 2018 
Marco Prieto (age 19) - VENEZUELA - 6'2 165 - SIGNED MAY 2019 
* Samuel Rodriguez (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 6'3 178 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
* Wilkin Ruiz (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 6'0 150 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
* Andricson Salvador (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 180 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Luis Valenzuela (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'2 170 - SIGNED MAY 2019 

: (1)
Edgar Gamargo (Age 17) - VENEZUELA - 5'10 172 - SIGNED MAY 2019  

* Edwin Castillo (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'0 160 -  SIGNED NOVEMBER 2018 
Rafael Morel (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 165 - SIGNED AUGUST 2018 
Joanfran Rojas (age 17) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 162 - SIGNED JUNE 2019 
Lizardo Ruiz (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 165 - SIGNED JANUARY 2019 
# Ronny Simon (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'9 150 - SIGNED JULY 2018
# Esmarly Tatis (age 19) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'10 165 -SIGNED MAY 2019

# Ezequiel Alvarez (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 150 - SIGNED JANUARY 2019 
Luis Berelleza (age 19) - MEXICO - 5'9 180 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
Samuel Duarte (age 17) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 175 - SIGNED JANUARY 2019 
Elias Fabian (age 18) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'11 169 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
* Orlando Guzman (age 16)- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'0 160 - SIGNED NOVEMBER 2018
* Jose Lopez (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 5'10 167 - SIGNED AUGUST 2018
Starlin Mateo (age 16) - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - 6'1 180 - SIGNED JUNE 2019
* Cristian More (age 17) - CUBA - 5'10 170 - SIGNED MARCH 2019  
* Yohendrick Pinango (age 16) - VENEZUELA - 5'11 170 - SIGNED JULY 2018 
Felix Stevens (age 19) - CUBA - 6'4 235 - SIGNED MARCH 2019    


The "International Signing Period" extends from July 2nd through June 15th of the following year. No international player can be signed during the period of time extending from June 16th through July 1st.


Any individual who is age 17 or older, has not previously signed an MLB or minor league contract, resides outside the U. S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U. S., Canada, or Puerto Rico within the previous year, can be signed during the "International Signing Period." Also, a 16-year old international player can be signed if the individual will turn 17 prior to September 1st or prior to the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league club to which the player is assigned (whichever comes first).

An international player can be "Signed for Future Service" (contract is for the following season) if the player signs a contract during the period of time starting on July 2nd up through January 15th.

In addition, a 16-year old international player who otherwise would not be eligible to sign can be "Signed for Future Service" (that is, contract is for the following season) if the player signs a contract July 2nd through August 31st.


There is a maximum limit on the aggregate amount of money each MLB club can pay as signing bonuses to international first-year players.

Beginning with the 2017-18 ISP:

1. A club's International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) will no longer be divided into four "Signing Bonus Values." Instead, a club's ISBP will be a fixed amount: $5.75M for the clubs that have selections in Competitive Balance Round "B" (between the 2nd & 3rd rounds) of the MLB Rule 4 Draft, $5.25M for the clubs that have selections in Competitive Balance Round "A" (between the 1st & 2nd rounds) of the MLB Rule 4 Draft, and $4.75M for all other MLB clubs (not counting possible subtractions as the result of a club signing an Article XX-B Qualified Player in the previous off-season).

2. A club cannot exceed its assigned ISBP plus a maximum additional 75% of the club's assigned ISBP that might be acquired in a trade or trades (a maximum additional 60% of its assigned ISBP that might be acquired via trade or trades starting with the 2019-20 ISP).

3. A club can carry-over up to $400K in ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP if a contract or contracts signed by a player or players is/are voided after the conclusion of the ISP during which the contract or contracts was/were signed. The amount of ISBP space carried-over from the previous ISP must match the amount of ISBP space that was deducted from the club's ISBP after the player or players signed their contracts. If the amount of ISBP space deducted exceeded $400K, the amount of ISBP space in excess of $400K that is carried-over to the next ISP will be divided up into 29 equal amounts and added to the ISBP of the other 29 MLB clubs. 
NOTE: A club's right to carry-over ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP only applies to contracts that are voided as the result of the player failing his physical or being unable to obtain a visa to the U. S. or if an investigation by the MLB Commissioner determines the player falsified his age and/or identity prior to signing the contract. It does not apply to contracts voided by the MLB Commissioner as a result of a rules violation by the club.

4. An MLB club that signs an Article XX-B Qualified Player (not including its own Qualified Players) will have $500,000 subtracted from its assigned International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) in the next full International Signing Period (ISP) for each Qualified Player signed, and an MLB club that is a CBT payor (club's payroll exceeds the so-called "Luxury Tax") would have $1,000,000 subtracted from its ISBP in the next ISP for each Qualified Player signed. (The Competitive Balance Tax threshold is $195M in 2017, $197M in 2018, $206M in 2019, $208M in 2020, and $210M in 2021).

5. The MLB Commissioner can order a club to forfeit up to 50% of its assigned ISBP from one or more ISP and/or one or more player contract(s) can be voided if it is determined that a club and/or a player or players attempted to circumvent the international signing bonus rules.


1. A signing bonus paid to a first-year international player age 25 or older who has spent all or part of at least six seasons playing in an MLB-recognized foreign professional or "major" league does - NOT - count against the club’s ISBP.

2. Up to 75% of a signing bonus paid to an international free-agent under the control of a Mexican League club does - NOT - count against the MLB club's ISBP if the signing bonus is paid to the Mexican League club and not directly to the player and the player receives no more than 25% of the signing bonus from the Mexican League club.
NOTE: On June 19, 2018, the MLB Commissioner imposed an indefinite ban on MLB clubs signing any first-year IFA player who is under contract to a Mexican League club.  

3. A player subject to ISBP restrictions cannot be signed to a Major League contract.


A club can trade up to 100% of its ISBP, and a club can acquire up to 75% of the club's assigned ISBP via trade. (A club can acquire up to 60% of its assigned ISBP via trade or trades beginning with the 2019-20 ISP).

While up to 100% of a club's originally-assigned ISBP (plus up to an additional 75% of the club's originally-assigned ISBP that might be acquired in a trade or trades) can be traded, there are some restrictions:

1. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) can only be traded during the International Signing Period (ISP) to which the ISBP was assigned (July 2nd through June 15th of the following year);

2. A club can trade no more than $250K of its ISBP space in any one transaction unless the club is trading all of its remaining ISBP in one transaction.

3. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) cannot be sold for cash. However, cash can be exchanged if it is used to offset the salary or salaries of a player or players acquired in return for the SBV;

4. A club's ISBP (or a portion of it) cannot be substituted for a "Player to Be Named Later" (PTBNL);

5. Another club's ISBP (or a portion of it) acquired in a trade can be traded ("flipped") to a third club.


Through the 2016-17 ISP, a tax and a restriction on bonuses that could be paid to international players during the next ISP were assessed if a club paid signing bonuses in excess of its ISBP in a given ISP

1. A club that paid signing bonuses that exceeded its ISBP by 5% or less was assessed a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, but there was no restrictions on bonuses in the next ISP.

2. A club that paid signing bonuses that exceeded its ISBP by 5-10% was assessed a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, and was permitted to sign only one international first-year player to a bonus of $500K or more in the next ISP.

3. A club that paid signing bonuses that exceeded its ISBP by 10-15% was assessed a 100% tax on the overage, and no player could be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next ISP.

4. A club that paid signing bonuses that exceeded its ISBP by 15%+ was assessed a 100% tax on the overage, and no player could be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next two ISPs.

Money collected from the tax on clubs that exceed their ISBP will be used to further the development of international baseball.

NOTE: Despite changes in the 2016-21 CBA, penalties incurred by clubs in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 ISPs will continue in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 ISPs. Because they exceeded their 2015-16 ISBP by more than 15%, the Cubs were not allowed to sign any international free-agent subject to ISBP signing bonus limits to a contract with a signing bonus in excess of $300K in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 ISPs.


PHIL:Thanks for posting the IFA information! I'm confused about one thing, though. I thought the youngest age a player could be signed was 16 (or 15 if he turned 16 prior to September 1st). Have I been off by 1 year all this time?



Any individual who is age 17 or older, has not previously signed an MLB or minor league contract, resides outside the U. S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U. S., Canada, or Puerto Rico within the previous year, can be signed during the "International Signing Period." Also, a 16-year old international player can be signed if the individual will turn 17 prior to September 1st or prior to the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league club to which the player is assigned (whichever comes first)."

K-DUB: If you read further down... 

"In addition, a 16-year old international player who otherwise would not be eligible to sign can be "Signed for Future Service" (that is, contract is for the following season) if the player signs a contract July 2nd through August 31st." 

What this means is that if a player is 16 but does not turn 17 prior to September 1st or by the conclusion of the current minor league season (whichever comes first), he can still be signed, but - ONLY - to a "Future Services" contract. Also, if a player is 15 when the ISP starts on July 2nd but turns 16 prior to September 1st, he can be signed once he turns 16, but again,  - ONLY - to a Future Services contract. So if an IFA is 15 but turns 16 prior to September 1st he can be signed starting on his 16th birthday, but if a 15-year old IFA turns 16 after August 31st, he cannot be signed until the start of the next ISP on July 2nd of the following year.  

The paragraph that you quoted means if a player is at least 17 years old, or turns 17 prior to September 1st or prior to the conclusion of the current minor league seaason (whichever comes first), he doesn't necessarily have to sign a Future Services contract (although most players signed after July 1st do). He can play immediately. And that's why 16-year old 2B Reivaj Garcia can play in the AZL this season (he turns 17 on August 12th).  

Also, the date a player signs his first contract is when his Rule 5 Draft eligibility clock starts ticking. So if a 16-year old signs on July 2nd or anytime prior to the conclusion of the minor league season and it's a Future Services contract such that the player will not make his pro debut until the following season, the signing date is considered the start of his pro career for Rule 5 Draft eligibility purposes, even though he didn't play the year he signed.  

An interesting caveat to Rule 5 Draft eligibility is if a player signs after the conclusion of the DSL regular season and then is initially assigned to a DSL affiiate, his Rule 5 Draft eligibility is delayed by an extra year because he signed after the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league club to which he was first assigned.

Beginning with the  2014 IFA, the Cubs waited to officially sign a number of their IFAs until after the conclusion of the DSL season on or about Augustv 20th, thereby delaying the Rule 5 Draft eligibility of the players by one year. Among the players who were affected by this tactical delay are SS Aramis Ademan, 1B-3B Jeinser Brete, RHP Keiber Arredondo, LHP Jonathan Bruzual, RHP Kleiber Carreno, RHP Yovanny Cruz, 2B Luis Diaz, RHP Jose Gomez, OF Jose Gutierrez, LHP Brailyn Marquez, RHP Hector Matos, INF Fidel Mejia, 1B Rafael Mejia, INF Christopher Morel, OF Carlos Morfa, C Raymond Pena, C Henderson Perez, INF Herson Perez, INF Yonathan Perlaza, RHP Yunior Perez, INF Oswaldo Pina, RHP Luis Ramos, OF Jonathan Sierra, RHP Jesus Tejada, OF Ricardo Verenzuela, and INF Orlando Zapata. 

Obviously a club can't always wait until after the conclusion of the DSL season to sign an IFA because some players must be signed ASAP or else you risk them signing with another organization, but whenever possible it's beneficial to the club to wait to sign an IFA until after the conclusion of the DSL regular season because it pushes post-season 40-man roster decisions an extra year down the road. 

Thank you so much, Phil!

MLB Pipeline‏ @MLBPipeline

#Cubs agree to deals with 5 international prospects, including 3 in the Top 30: No. 5 Richard Gallardo, ($1M) No. 17 Jose Lopez ($1.5M) No. 28 Joel Machado ($850K) "also agreed to $850,000 deal with shortstop Rafael Morel of the Dominican Republic and outfielder Yohendrick Pinango of Venezuela for $400,000."

From what I've heard from one who should know, Rafael Morel (Christopher's brother) will likely play CF in pro ball.

Back in March 2008, there was an instructive case involving the Cincinnati Reds signing one of the top IFA prospects (Dominican OF Juan Duran) to a contract with a $2M signing bonus prior to the start of the 2008-09 ISP, even though Duran did not turn 16 until September 2, 2007 (AFTER the August 31st deadline), which means he ordinarily would not have been eligble to sign until the start of the 2008-09 ISP on July 2, 2008. 

However, the Reds had a short-season affiliate in Billings, MT, that played in the Pioneer League, and the 2008 Pioneer League regular season did not end until Septemer 5th, so after signing him, the Reds initially assigned Duran to the Billings roster (but just on paper -- he didn't actually play for Billngs in 2008), so that he would turn 17 prior to the conclusion of the 2008 Pioneer League season. The Reds then transferred Duran to the DSL Reds in May so that he could play at a more-appropriate level for a 16-year old.

Naturally an investigation ensued because the Reds appeared to have used their Billings affiliate to circumvent the rules, but they got away with it, and to the Reds credit, nobody else apparently thought about doing it.

For something like this to happen everything has to be just right. 

Again, after the initial flurry of signing a few high-end J-2 IFAs who must be signed ASAP to make sure they don't sign elsewhere, expect the Cubs to wait until after the conclusion of the DSL regular season (last games scheduled 8/25) to officially sign most of their other IFAs so as to postpone Rule 5 Draft eligibility by one year (see earlier comment).  

PHIL: Excellent insight. Knowing that makes the timing of these signings so much clearer. And I'm glad the Cubs are taking advantage. That extra year comes in handy.

Don't expect the Cubs to sign 46 IFAs again in the 2018-19 ISP like they did in the 2017-18 ISP. They might even sign only half that many. 

What caused the record-number of J-2 IFA signings in the 2017-18 ISP was partly that the Cubs were in the "penalty box" (maximum $300,000 signing bonus per player) and so they decided to go more with cheaper raw quantity over high-priced high-end quality, and partly because of the establishing of the second Cubs team in the AZL, which caused a roster vacuum of 35 players and a larger number of players and pitchers being moved up to the AZL from the DSL than had been the case in previous years.

So now that the Cubs are out of the ISP penalty box and now that the two AZL Cubs rosters have been filled, the Cubs can once again focus more on J-2 IFA quality over quanity.

Hi AZ Phil,

I assume the cubs won’t be able to carryforward $300k (the amount charged to their cap last year) for Florencio Serrano because he was outright released and didn’t have his contract voided. Is that correct?

RAISIN: I still don't know the full story about the circumstances surrounding the release of Florencio Serrano Jr, so I don't know if the Cubs will be able to carry-over the $300K ISBP space to the 2018-19 ISBP or not.

Obviously it depends on whether the contract was voided or if Serrano was just released (most-likely the contract was voided), and if the contract was voided, if the Cubs violated any rules that caused the contract to be voided, or if it was entirely on Serrano and/or the Tijuana Toros (his Mexican League club). 

Thanks! Hopefully the Cubs can get that small consolation prize for losing Serrano.

I'm dense this evening. Not figuring what "NFI" stands for. But I'm guessing "No" and "Indicated" might be the first and last wors.


Also, is DJ Artis okay? He has missed action since his second game, when he was replaced after a HBP. I hope it was below the neckline.

TIM: NFI = No Further Information. 

I wasn't at the AZL Cubs #2 game when D. J. Artis was HBP (I was at the AZL Cubs #1 road game at Fitch Park that night) so I don't know where on his body he was hit. Otherwise I haven't heard anything, but I'll let you know if I do.

Thanks, as always.

PHIL- Keeping up to date with the IFA are the Cubs in the penalty box yet?  There hasn't been any real word as far as I've heard.  This is there first year out and the previous 2 times they were out they went for broke in 5 minutes like with the one year Eloy/Gleyber/Tseng/Alozlay then the second time Ademan/Sierra/Martinez/Albertos/Marquez etc.

I'm not Phil but note that new Collective Bargaining Agreement established a hard cap for international signings. Teams aren't permitted to go over their spending limit except through permitted acquisition of cap spending from other teams (such acquisitions are also limited). Thus nobody will be permitted to overspend (and therefore this will eradicate the later penalty box spending limits as well).

Ah thanks. Spending the same as others, that's no fun. Oh well, I'm sure Theo has/will adjust just fine.

Phil, do you expect to see these signees in the Fall at Instructs.?

HAGSAG: I would expect Lopez and Morel and maybe Pinango to be there. SS Fabian Pertuz and SS Luis Verdugo were the the only 2017-18 J-2 IFA who attended Instructs post-2018, so I'm not sure how the Cubs are going to handle the IFA pitchers (Gallardo, Machado, and Montero). The Cubs tend to be very careful when it comes to pitchers. 

Phil, how does placing a J2 signee on the restricted list immediately after signing affect his Rule 5/6YFA status as opposed to signing him for future services?

jdmym: Rule 5 draft eligibility is determined by the date the player signed his first contract, so whether he was Signed for Future Service or placed on the Restricted list immediately after signing doesn't affect when the player becomes Rule 5 Draft eligible. 

A player must spend all or part of a season on a minor league active roster, DL, and/or Temporarily Inactive List in order for that season to count toward the seven minor league seasons required to be eligible to be a minor league free-agent. So any season where a player spent the season "Signed for Future Service" or on the Resticted List does not count toward the seven seasons. 

Clubs are permitted to place up to twelve players who signed a contract for the following season after July 1st on any one minor league affiliate's Future Services List (players who are "Signed for Future Service" do not count against the affiliate's Active List or Reserve List until Opening Day of the following season), so that means a maximum of twelve players "Signed for Future Service" can be assigned to DSL Cubs #1, a maximum of twelve can be asigned to DSL Cubs #2, a maximum of twelve can be assigned to AZL Cubs #1, a maximum of twelve can be assigned to AZL Cubs #2, etc.  

It seems like a small number of signed players so far.

only 5 multi-year deals so far (1 of those was a contract re-working for a player already under contract, e.escobar, ARZ)...2 of those contracts belong to the rangers.  only 19 deals total (not counting minor league deals).

as far as the cubs needs go, they're rather fortunate if they're in the market for a mid/high-end reliever because there's a good amount of them out there.

HAGSAG: An unusually high number of IFA were signed by the Cubs in the last ISP because of the new second AZL Cubs team that began play in 2018. More than the usual number of DSL players were moved-up to the AZL last summer to help stock the second AZL Cubs team, and that created a cascade effect of the Cubs needing more new players than usual on their two DSL Cubs teams. That situation has now been stabiliized, and one additional effect of the second AZL team that you may have noticed is that far fewer Cubs minor leaguers were released during 2018 than in previous seasons. A number of Cubs minor leaguers who normally would have been released in prior seasons got at least a one-year reprieve in 2018. 

...and at this point i realize the comment i replied to above was in an international free agent post.  ha.

PHIL: Who should they use their 3rd Round Draft Pick on? (THE BEARS)

E-MAN: Bryce Love RB (Stanford)

Thanks PHIL! Maybe he’ll last until then!

The Cubs signed eight IFA this month and now have signed a total of 27 IFA in 2018-19 ISP (see updated list in post above). 

DSL season starts on Saturday (6/1) so the eight IFA signed by the Cubs in May will be assigned to the Cubs DSL squads.

Alzolay throws tonight in Fresno. 6 days between starts; 5 the turn before; 4 the turn before that...If Lester hoof is bad, might AA get called up to go w/ 4 on the 19th vs. Sox? Hamels could pitch on the 18th cuz of off-day on the 17th. Let's see how he does tonight...

AA: 6IP; 0BBs; 9Ks...See the USA in your Alzolay; All the way w/ Alzolay; Lay Lazy Lay; My name is Bert and I’m an Alzoholic...

Bring him up!

Reivaj Garcia apparently pronounces his name RAY-vuh.

The Cubs have signed 19 J-2 IFA since acquiring $750K in International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) space from the Orioles in the April deal where the Cubs agreed not to re-claim RHRP Pedro Araujo (selected by BAL in the Major League Phase of the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft). 

There were no big name prospects among the 19 J-2 IFA who were signed, but the average signing bonus (presuming the entire $750K in ISBP space was used) is about $40,000.  

19 for 1

I like those odds.

incredible waste of money, honestly.

you can get almost 2 weeks of chatwood for that kinda loot.  CHATWOOD!!!

There are a dozen J-2 IFA signed by the Cubs prior to the conclusion of the 2018-19 ISP on June 15th (K. Abreu, L. Barrelliza, E. Blanco, A. Feliz, W. Figuereo, E. Gamargo, R. Green, S. Mateo, G. Montano, S. Rodriguez, J. Rojas, and W. Ruiz) who are on the Restricted List because there isn't room for them on either of the two DSL Cubs rosters. All twelve of these players were signed after the Cubs acquired $750K in 2018-19 ISBP space from the Baltimore Orioles on April 5th in return for the Orioles retaining control of RHP Pedro Araujo (selected by Baltimore in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft).  

Only J-2 IFA signed after July 1st (and up through December 31st) can be "Signed for Future Service" (that is, contract is for the next season), so J-2 IFA who were signed by the Cubs after December 31st and prior to the conclusion of the 2018-19 ISP on June 15th who have not been added to a minor league roster yet (and who by rule cannot be "Signed for Future Service" -- they must be signed to 2019 contracts) have instead been placed on the Restricted List and apparently will remain there until additional DSL roster slots become available (which might not happen until after the conclusion of the 2019 season). In order for this to work, the Cubs would have had to make sure that each of the twelve IFA who are on the Restricted List stay home and not report to the Cubs Dominican Academy until additional DSL roster slots become available, because "failing to report" is one of the reasons a player can be placed on the Restricted List.  

So by using the Restricted List as a de facto Future Services List the Cubs were able to sign more players prior to the conclusion of the 2018-19 ISP (when the club had plenty of ISBP space thanks to the Araujo deal, but not enough roster slots for all of the players they signed) rather than waiting to sign the players until July 2nd (the start of the 2019-20 ISP) when the players could have been Signed for Future Service (so that they would not count against the DSL club's reserve list until DSL Opening Day 2020) but when the club might not have as much ISBP space available as it did at the end of the previous ISP (which is apparently the case for the Cubs right now, after B. Altuve, K. Made, and R. Quintero received multi-million dollar signing bonuses that exhausted the Cubs entire 2019-20 ISBP the very first day of the ISP). So expect the Cubs to try and acquire additional 2019-20 ISBP space via trade (they could add up to an additional $3,238,980 in 2019-20 ISBP space - IF - they can find clubs willing to trade ISBP space).   

What's kind of interesting/odd is that the Cubs signed five second-contract free-agents (all pitchers) since the start of the DSL season and assigned them to the two DSL Cubs teams, thereby taking away roster slots that could have been used by five of the twelve 2018-19 J-2 IFA who remain on the Restricted List. 

RHP Kelvin Abreu (April 2019 IFA - Venezuela) had his contract voided and he has been released. He spent his entire pro career (four months) on the Restricted List.  

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  • crunch 6 hours 9 min ago (view)


    ""There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of," Arenado said. "You can quote that." Arenado added, "You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect."

    The third baseman didn't want to elaborate on what he felt was disrespectful, but clearing the relationship between Arenado and the front office needs to be repaired."


  • crunch 7 hours 27 min ago (view)

    some good news...or bad news depending on how you feel about it...for the k.bryant trade market...

    "Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Monday indicated that Nolan Arenado will not be dealt prior to spring training and trade talks involving the third baseman are off for now."

    now MLB and crew need to decide whether bryant has an extra year of club control or not...still waiting...

    rangers, braves, and nats are supposedly looking at 3rd base upgrades.  cards are, too, but bryant to the cards would be a mutiny level trade decision.


  • crunch 13 hours 38 min ago (view)

    "Ben Nicholson-Smith of reports that the Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, and Brewers are "believed to be among the teams with some interest" in free agent reliever Pedro Strop.

    Nicholson-Smith on Sunday that Strop had three offers in-hand (two from NL clubs and one from an AL club) and will likely make his decision soon."


  • crunch 14 hours 21 min ago (view)

    meanwhile "bitpartisan" lawmakers are working as hard as they can to make sure many labor/pay protection laws applicable to other workers don't apply to minor league teams for many years now by coding it into law or attempting to...

    some of these same people are now crying foul over MLB team owner's plan to get rid of dozens of minor league teams for restructuring in order to save $$ by billionaire team owners.

    "hey, we're doing this favor for you at the expense of workers.  remember this!" - lawmakers

    "oh, we will." - MLB team owners


  • Charlie 16 hours 21 min ago (view)

    Fair pay for minor leaguers and international free agents would soften the blow of nickel and diming the MLB payroll for sure. It won't happen until the players union represents minor league interests, of course, unless an outside law suit forces the minimum wage issue.


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    without fail, at the end of every minor league spring training period (which is extremely poorly paid, not at all for the most part) there comes some retirements that seem to be a bit "early" in their development when players slog through weeks of low/no pay only to find out they're being assigned to a low level that barely pays them.  it's a real morale crasher after going through weeks of poverty that breaks some guys.  that's no way to run things...


  • JustSayin' 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    So true.  The minors these days is an odd mix of the few who get big bonuses with Hispanic guys for whom $1,200/month might be good money and college guys being partly subsidized by middle or upper-middle class families.  You don't hear much about minor league economics when the discussion turns to lower participation by black players but I believe it's a big factor.  If you need to use sports to get ahead, would you rather have your "internship" involve a free college education, or $6,000 a year?  


  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    there are more than a few minor league players that have to "retire" from minor league ball in order to start making real money in the real world for their real lives while those from more wealthy families get to follow their dreams a bit longer.

    that's a real shame.


  • JustSayin' 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    Theo got a good question at the conference on minor league salaries and went on record that they are unfair.  That was followed by "keep your ear to the ground" or some similar cliche.  I find this interesting.  Fan dissatisfaction this offseason is maily focused on ownership being cheap but you have to admit there is a (slim?) chance that the baseball moves we want to see are not currently possible.  It's hard to say the same about MiLB salaries.  Those don't even factor in the luxury tax.  You could raise every player in the system to middle class for the cos


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    As part of the 2019-2020 Cubs offseason dumpster diving extravaganza, I wonder if they will kick the tires on Zack Cozart. Can handle 2B SS 3B and isn't far removed from being a great defender and at least decent hitter. 2 years of injury is a concern, but he'd receive only ML minimum.


  • crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    WAS is now floating c.kieboom as a 3rd base option...along with asdrubal cabrera backing him up there.

    the bryant service issue delay may end up lessening his trade value as teams (especially his #1 rumored suitor, WAS) prepare their teams in the offseason.

    it's unfortunate that the cubs major offseason team building is based on waiting to find out how much getting rid of bryant is worth because of service time concerns.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Another possible unintended consequence of the new restriction on September call-ups is that contending clubs will send MLB-ready pitchers and position-players who in previous seasons would have been called-up to MLB in September to the Arizona Fall League, just to keep them in game shape in case the pitcher or position player is needed as an injury replacement in September or in the post-season.  


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    One thing about Josh Phegley is that not only is he out of minor league options but he also has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), so he can't even be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he were to be added to the 40.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have reportedly signed veteran MLB catcher Josh Phegley (ex-OAK and ex-CHW) to a minor league contract and an NRI to Spring Training (contract is pending because it has not yet been filed with MLB). 


  • CubbyBlue 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    Yeah but that person figured out a way to make a profit off of it, so... hey WAIT!


  • crunch 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    "Cubs' pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Friday that Brandon Morrow (elbow) will be on the same schedule as the rest of the Cubs' pitchers during spring training."

    that's cool.  no restrictions unless the team chooses to be cautious, evidently.