The international signing period begins today—delayed by the ongoing pandemic—and put down your beverage (or sit down lest you drop your phone): The Nats are expected to sign second-rated IFA Armando Cruz for $4 million. I’d say SS but take a look at the Baseball America Top 50 and they’re all shortstops.
The soon-to-be-17-y.o. (tomorrow) has been compared to the likes of José Iglesias with plus defensive skills, though reports vary on his arm – BA describes it as “strong” while MLB Pipeline says “average.” Both agree he has advanced hands and footwork. Alas, like many a defensive stalwart, the bat is well behind the glove and there’s doubt that he’ll develop much, if any, power. Obviously, not enough doubt to forego paying out six figures…
THE 120 RECEIVE THEIR PDLS
BA is also reporting that “the 120” have been issued their PDLs and will have until Feb. 10 to
sell their souls for a fiddle of gold sign. Most, if not all, are expected to take it. Details are sparse (thanks to the NDA, natch) but reportedly MLB has listened and reacted to some of the feedback, which leaves minor-league operators hopeful that perhaps this won’t be as devastating as originally thought. Still (highlight is mine):
Minor league operators are encouraged and feel that MLB is showing in small steps that the PDL system could end up being mutually beneficial. They also say they will not know the full drawbacks and benefits of the new system for years – teams will not be receiving revenue from MLB’s marketing and sales until 2023, and until that happens, teams will not see the difference between the past and the present.
Finally, and perhaps, unfortunately, BA’s J.J. Cooper notes that MLB does not own any of the league names, so the Mid-Atlantic League might not be the only new kid in town whenever minor-league baseball resumes.
MLB ISSUES FAN SAFETY GUIDELINES
While these guidelines will initially apply to MLB, the folks at Ballpark Digest expect them to be rolled out to MiLB. Conspicuously absent: no mandates for a negative COVID-19 test or having been vaccinated. Not even temperature checks.
Obviously, if local regulations require additional measures, so be it. But it’s not like MLB has a history of looking for the least amount of regulation possible, right?