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After trades, O's focus on international market

Duquette says club plans to sign Dominican, Venezuelan players
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

NEW YORK -- Fresh off a pair of trades on Tuesday, the rebuilding Orioles are moving quickly to reinvest, with the club finally making a foray into the international market.

The O's have not spent any of their allotted signing bonus pool for international amateur prospects, which was $5,504,500 when the signing period began on July 2. The $2.5 million they netted from the Braves in the Kevin Gausman deal easily gives them the biggest sum in baseball left to spend, with several deals expected as early as this week.

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NEW YORK -- Fresh off a pair of trades on Tuesday, the rebuilding Orioles are moving quickly to reinvest, with the club finally making a foray into the international market.

The O's have not spent any of their allotted signing bonus pool for international amateur prospects, which was $5,504,500 when the signing period began on July 2. The $2.5 million they netted from the Braves in the Kevin Gausman deal easily gives them the biggest sum in baseball left to spend, with several deals expected as early as this week.

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"We are going to announce the signings of some young Dominican and Venezuelan players that we like," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a conference call Tuesday night. "And there are a lot of clubs that have already committed their resources in the international market, so this will give us a good position to go out and sign some talent this year to help the Major League club."

Could they go all in on coveted prospect Victor Victor Mesa? Perhaps. There was a report that linked the O's to Mesa earlier this month, but it wasn't true, as he's still not eligible to sign. Mesa could become eligible in the next few months and -- with most of the top prospects already off the board and bonus pools spent -- the Orioles could have the upper hand.

Baltimore has long ignored the international market, trading away its bonus slots in prior years, but Duquette and Co. have vowed to turn that around as they try to jump-start a rebuild.

"In addition to the players we got, we also picked up the resources to reinvest in the international market," Duquette said of a July that netted the O's 15 young players in exchange for six key pieces of the organization. "And, as you know, you can also trade these slots to acquire other players to help the Major League team, which we've done in the past. So it's a valuable piece in building a good operation, building a good team."

Tuesday's trades, combined with the O's prior moves, saves them about $29 million in payroll obligations through 2019, and more than that when factoring in projected raises for arbitration-eligible players like Gausman. Lowering the payroll is another part of the rebuild.

Duquette said the O's overextended on their Major League roster the past few years and will be using the money saved on that to beef up scouting and analytics, as well as the international market.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles