The Cubs have landed the top position player from Mexico and one of the country's best pitchers.The club has agreed to a $1 million deal with shortstop Luis Verdugo of La Paz, Baja California, according to industry sources. Verdugo is ranked No. 30 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects list.The
The Cubs have landed the top position player from Mexico and one of the country's best pitchers.
The club has agreed to a $1 million deal with shortstop Luis Verdugo of La Paz, Baja California, according to industry sources. Verdugo is ranked No. 30 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects list.
The Cubs are also the favorite to sign right-handed pitcher Florencio Serrano, also of Mexico, for a deal near $1 million. The club has not confirmed the deals.
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Verdugo is best known for his strong arm and defensive prowess. He has shown solid defensive actions and good footwork. On offense, he is considered a contact hitter with a good bat path through the strike zone. His overall hit tool is expected to improve once he enters the team's academy in the Dominican Republic.
Verdugo has also been praised for his makeup.
As for Serrano, 17, the pitcher has a projectable fastball that sits in the low-90s. He also throws a change, a slider and a curveball. He pitched for Robstown High School in Texas as a freshman last year and later entered the Tijuana Toros academy in Mexico.
According to the new rules established by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, every team gets at least $4.75 million to spend on international prospects. Any team receiving a Competitive Balance Round A pick in the Draft gets $5.25 million in international bonus pool money. Additionally, teams receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick get $5.75 million to spend.
A club can trade as much of its international pool money as it would like, but there is a limit -- 75 percent of a team's initial pool -- to how much one team can acquired.
The Cubs' pool total for this year's signing period is $4.75 million. Per MLB rules, only the amount of the payment that is paid to a Mexican League player like Verdugo and Serrano counts against the bonus pool, a sum that's usually around 25 percent. What's more, teams in the maximum penalty that are limited to signing players for $300,000 or less -- like the Cubs -- are allowed to spend up to $1.2 million for a player that belongs to a Mexican League team.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.