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Cubs busy at work on international scene

Chicago able to acquire four signing bonus slots via recent trades

There is a different set of rules governing Major League Baseball's international signing period this year, and the Cubs are taking full advantage of the new wrinkles.

For the first time in history, each team was given a $700,000 base and a bonus pool made up of four slot values based on its 2012 record, which it is able to trade. The Cubs have seized the opportunity and been busy making moves.

top 30 international prospect signings
Signings of players on's 2013 Top 30 International Prospects list.
No. Name Pos Country Signed Bonus
1 Eloy Jimenez OF DR CHC* $2.8m
2 Micker Zapata OF DR CWS $1.6m
3 Gleyber Torres SS VZ CHC* $1.7m
4 Marten Gasparini SS ITA KC* $1.3m
5 Leonardo Molina OF DR    
6 Rafael Devers 3B DR BOS* $1.5m
7 Jose Herrera C VZ ARI* $1.06m
8 Marcos Diplan RHP DR TEX* $1.3m
9 Mayky Perez RHP DR SD* $635k
10 Lewin Diaz OF DR MIN* $1.4m
11 Yeltsin Gudino SS VZ TOR $1.29m
12 Luis Encarnacion 3B DR    
13 Jose Almonte OF DR TEX* $1.8m
14 Erick Julio RHP COL COL* $700k
15 Carlos Herrera SS VZ COL* $1.2m
16 Anderson Franco 3B DR    
17 Erling Moreno RHP COL CHC* $650k
18 Yimmelvyn Alonzo SS DR    
19 Lucas Tirado SS DR LAD $1M
20 Greifer Andrade OF VZ SEA* $1.05m
21 Bryan Lizardo 3B DR    
22 Franly Mallen SS DR MIL $800k
23 Yeyson Yrizarry SS DR TEX* $1.35M
24 Emmanuel DeJesus LHP VZ BOS* $780k
25 Wladimir Galindo 3B VZ    
26 Carlos Hiciano SS DR OAK* $750k
27 Michael DeLeon SS DR TEX* $550k
28 Nicolas Pierre OF DR MIL $800k
29 Jen-He Tseng RHP TAI    
30 Wasner Pequero OF DR    
* Club has not confirmed signing

Using the new guidelines, the Cubs were able to increase their offer to teenage outfielder Eloy Jimenez, ranked No. 1 on Top 30 International Prospects List, to almost $3 million while remaining big players in the international market. That's in part because they acquired four signing bonus slots -- two from the Orioles and two from the Astros -- in trades worth $963,000 on Tuesday, the first day of the international signing period.

The additional money increased the Cubs' total international pool to $5,520,300, the highest among all teams. So far, the team has committed $3,470,000 of that money to four players: shortstop Gleyber Torres, the top player from Venezuela and third-ranked international prospect, for $1.7 million; and Colombia's right-handed pitcher Erling Moreno, ranked No. 17, for $650,000. The club also signed right-handed pitcher Jefferson Mejia for $850,000 and added catching prospect Johan Matos for $270,000.

"We really like the depth and premium talent in this particular class," general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "We made a decision to be aggressive and acquire some international slots. I don't think we're the last team that will look to add international slots. ... For us, we felt really good about that, and it was something we discussed that if we had the opportunity to add money to go after some players, we'd do it."

For now, the club is safe from an overage penalty. But the team's pending deal with Jimenez, which is expected to be worth $2.8 million, would put them $749,700 -- or 13.6 percent -- over their pool and into the penalty phase. Teams that exceed their pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the 2014-2015 signing period and have to pay 100-percent tax on the pool overage.

The Cubs can still acquire $1,315,600 in slot money from other teams to avoid any penalty, because the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to add up to 50 percent of the initial bonus pool, which in Chicago's case was $4,557,200.

It's unclear if the Cubs are still trying to acquire more international slot money. What's certain are the current penalty guidelines put into practice last year.

Clubs that exceed their pool from zero to five percent are forced to pay a 75-percent tax on the overage. The teams that exceed their pools from five to 10 percent are not be allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 75-percent tax on the overage.

In the most severe cases, teams that exceed their pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $250,000 during the next signing period and have to pay 100-percent tax on the pool overage.

The Cubs acquired two slots in the deal that sent Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for right-handed pitchers Jake Arrietta and Pedro Strop. The two other slots were acquired from the Astros for Minor League infielder Ronald Torreyes.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. Carrie Muskat contributed to this report.
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