The MLB opens its checkbooks to local talent
SANTO DOMINGO. The Big League organizations fulfilled what had been forecast, and yesterday they opened their checkbooks as never before in order to recruit Dominican talent. Some US$46.6 million was committed to 35 adolescents in yesterday’s session, according to numbers compiled by Diario Libre based on information from Major League Baseball, agents, trainers and Baseball America.
The number on the first day of signings for the 2015-2016 period represents 87% of everything that the teams invested during 2014, when they spend US $54 million.
An unprecedented number of 18 young men obtained seven digit bonuses, with outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz getting the largest slice of the cake, as he signed on the bottom line for US$4.2 million with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Minnesota Twins once again bet heavily on another Dominican talent, Wander Javier, the same day they brought up to the big club the guy who until yesterday had been their greatest investment, Miguel Sano. Javier is a shortstop considered as the best talent available on the market of Dominican players.
Another power outfielder, Vladimir Guerrero Ramos, the son of the former slugger Vladimir Guerrero, drove the Canadian Toronto Blue Jays so crazy, that they guaranteed him US$3.9 million. When his father was recruited by the old Montréal Expos in 1993 he received US$3500 and in his 15 year career In the Majors he accumulated Hall of Fame numbers and a total income of US$125 million.
The Guerrero family added another millionaire to the club with shortstop Gregory (Vladimir’s nephew), who received US$1.5 million from the New York Mets.
Starling Heredia, a five-tool centerfielder, fulfilled the forecasts that were made two years ago when he appeared on the team’s radar. The Dodgers signed him yesterday for US$2.6 million. The Dodgers also gave seven figures to shortstop Ronny Brito, US$2.0 million.
The Cubs returned to the market aggressively, after being absent for a year because they went over the limit in 2013/this year they added outfielder Yonathan Sierra for US$2.5 million. The Astros obtained centerfielder Gilberto Celestino with a bonus of US$2,250,000, in addition to guaranteeing another US$275,000 for educational expenses. Celestino told Diario libre in April that he hoped to combine his career as a ballplayer with business studies.
Kansas City recruited outfielder Seuly Matias for US$2,250,000 and shortstop Jeison Guzman for US$1.5 million.
The Texas Rangers were also absent last year for going over the ceiling in 2013, and this year they obtained outfielder Leodys Taveras for US$2.1 million.
Another 17 players were signed yesterday for six-figure bonuses that were between US$100,000 and US$950,000.
The grandson of the Caballo
Carlos Ventura, an outfielder who is the grandson of Johnny Ventura (a.k.a. El Caballo), was signed by Ramon Peña, the Dominican scout who has recruited the most ballplayers who have reached the Major Leagues, for the Cleveland Indians.
Ventura, who was born in Miami to the Cuban-American Gianna Martinez and Dominican Jandy Ventura, received a bonus of US$395,000. A year and a half ago he established himself definitively in the country In the International Prospect League (IPL).
“It is like you yourself are fulfilled, because I have been a baseball fan for my whole life; I played baseball, I dreamed of being a ballplayer and today upon seeing one of my grandsons getting signed, it is if they were signing me,” said Johnny Ventura, wearing a Jacket of the Tribe and surrounded by relatives of the young man.
“I’ve already told him that what he has done is not worth anything right now; that starting today is when he has to put all his efforts in order that he survives the statistics of 3% (the percentage of those who are assigned who reach the Major Leagues), but instead that he becomes included in that group and can be a ballplayer who honors the country and makes us feel proud to be Ventura,” added the veteran singer and musician.
But the principle recipients of money were not Dominican. The Cuban pitcher Jadier Alvarez, trained at the San Isidro Air Base by Amauris Nina of the IPL, got the biggest bonus with US$16 million from the Dodgers.
Alvarez, 19, was followed by shortstop Lucius Fox, of the Bahamas, with US$6 million from the San Francisco Giants.
July 4, 2015
Category: DR News |