Today is July 2 and that means the international signing period is under way.
Several members of MLB.com's Top 20 International Prospects have come off the board, according to sources, and more could be on the way.
Outfielder Gustavo Cabrera, the No. 1-ranked international prospect, has agreed to terms on a $1.3 million deal with the Giants, and many of his teammates from the Dominican Prospect League, as well as other teens on the international market, have already started their paths to the big leagues.
"It's a great day for the kids. Our focus has always been the kids and the teams, and today is a great day for both," said DPL co-founder Ulises Cabrera. "Organizations are really excited about the talent they are getting, and the kids are excited to start their careers. There are some potential big leaguers and guys that can really play baseball."
The Yankees agreed to terms with a trio of international teens on Monday, including two ranked in the upper half of MLB.com's Top 20 list. Dominican shortstop Luis Torrens (No. 6) reached a $1.3 million deal, while Venezuelan outfielder Alexander Palma (No. 7) came to terms for $800,000. The Yankees also reached a deal with Dominican switch-hitting shortstop Yancarlos Baez for $650,000.
"I'm so happy," Palma said. "This is very emotional. The only thing to do now is to go forward and keep working hard to get to the Major Leagues."
Venezuelan right-hander Jose Mujica (No. 8) agreed on a contract for $1 million with the Rays.
Both Mujica and Palma are trained by former Major Leaguer Carlos Guillen at his academy in Venezuela.
"In some ways, you can say the mission is complete, but there is still a lot of work to do," Guillen said. "But this is a really joyous day. The players are starting their careers and new chapters in their lives. They've worked really hard to get here, and hopefully they will make it to big leagues one day. We are very happy to be where we are today."
Switch-hitting Dominican infielder Amaurys Minier (No. 4) came to terms on a $1.4 million deal with the Twins, and left-handed-hitting middle infielder Richard Urena (No. 9) is closing in on a deal with the Blue Jays for $725,000.
In addition to inking No. 1-ranked Cabrera, the Giants also agreed to a $500,000 deal with Dominican third baseman Nathanael Javier, who is ranked No. 11.
Shortstop Frandy De La Rosa (No. 10) is close to a $700,000 deal with the Cubs, and third baseman Julio De La Cruz (No. 15) is nearing a $600,000 deal with the Pirates.
The Phillies came to terms with a pair of Dominicans: Outfielder Jose Pujols (No. 16) will get a $600,000 deal that includes a $60,000 scholarship if he chooses to go to school; and catcher Deivi Grullon (No. 17) has a deal worth $575,000.
The signings have not been confirmed by the clubs.
The status of outfielder Jairo Beras, ranked No. 3, remains in question as Major League Baseball reviews the prospect's documents to determine his age before it will approve a $4.5 million deal with the Rangers. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said the club will not be very active as a result. The Rangers spent their entire budget on Beras, treating him as the top prospect on the market, Daniels said.
Additionally, the Cardinals announced the signing of outfielder Luis Bandes, catcher Joshua Lopez and shortstop Edmundo Sosa. The Dodgers signed pitchers Lenix Osuna, Victor Gonzalez and William Soto and catcher Julian Leon.
Also, the A's and outfielder Luis Barrera, ranked no. 13, are finalizing an agreement worth $450,000. Detroit has agreed to terms with Dominican shortstops Domingo Leyba and Willy Adames, pending verification of their identity and age.
In accordance with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the international system now operates with money pools and penalties for teams that exceed its pools. For the 2012-13 signing period, every team will be able to spend $2.9 million without penalty. Starting in 2013-14, the pools will be based on each team's winning percentage in the prior season, with pools ranging from approximately $1.7 million to $4.8 million.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.