Cardinals' int'l signees led by Venezuela teens

July 3rd, 2019

SEATTLE -- A pair of teens from Venezuela headline this year’s class of international signees for the Cardinals, who officially signed 23 players to start the international signing period on Tuesday.

The club has deals with shortstop Jeremy Rivas from Maracay and right-handed pitcher Jose Davila, who is from Maracaibo.

The 6-foot-3 Davila throws a 90-93-mph fastball along with a curve and a change. He has good command of the strike zone and a feel for pitching. He’s expected to develop more strength as he grows and projects to be a starter.

“When you see a kid, 15-16 years old, who has the ability to spin the ball like (Davila) does on his curveball, you get excited about it,” Cardinals director of international scouting Luis Morales said.

As for Rivas, he played for Venezuela’s U14 team and is an emerging defender who makes routine plays. He has a clean approach and makes lots of contact, with a chance to develop some power.

The Cardinals are most excited about Rivas’ offensive upside.

“We really like his skills, his ability to be steady and make those plays,” Morales said. “He has the power and the offensive projection.”

After two years of limitations due to past overspending, the Cardinals were able to start the signing period tied with the most amount of money.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs like the Cardinals that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft have the most money with a pool of $6,481,200 for spending on international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive the second most at $5,939,800.

“Even though we had those restrictions the last two years, we felt like we were able to get talent,” Morales said. “It was good to get out of that penalty box and be more aggressive with getting talent.”

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 60 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Under the previous system, teams were penalized for exceeding their bonus pools with consequences that ranged from taxes on their spending to the maximum penalty, which was being prohibited from signing any prospect for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. That’s no longer the case and there are no longer penalties. Teams can only spend their allotted bonus pools and the monies acquired via trade.