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Brewers reportedly sign Venezuelan catcher Sibrian

PHILADELPHIA -- The Brewers have agreed to sign Venezuelan catcher Jose Sibrian for a $550,000 bonus,'s Jesse Sanchez reported Thursday as the international signing period opened.

Brewers director of Latin American operations Eduardo Brizuela declined to confirm the club's deal with Sibrian or to reveal names of any other July 2 signees. All of those players must pass Major League Baseball's standard age and identity investigation before their contracts are official and clubs can comment.

"It's a big day for a lot of people in the industry," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They've spent a lot of time -- years -- with some of these kids. And it's big day for a lot of these kids. Some lives being changed."

Last year, the Brewers obliterated their previous record for an international signee by spending $3.1 million for Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara, a top 10 talent in last year's player pool who is currently playing for the rookie-level Arizona Brewers. This year, the Brewers were expected to take a slightly different approach by signing a higher volume of international players, and were not as involved in the big-money talent. Sibrian did not appear on's list of the top 30 available players.

The Brewers were assigned a bonus pool $2,389,300 for this signing period by Major League Baseball.

The international market, mostly Latin America, remains a significant source of talent for Major League teams, though it requires patience because players are often 16 years old when they sign. Eight of the players on the current Brewers roster were signed as youngsters in the Dominican Republic (Carlos Gomez, Hector Gomez, Wily Peralta, Aramis Ramirez and Jean Segura) or Venezuela (Gerardo Parra, Hernan Perez and Francisco Rodriguez). The only player in that group originally signed by the Brewers is Peralta, who received a $450,000 bonus in 2005.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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