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Phillies trade for No. 1 international signing slot

Two Minor League pitchers and No. 9 slot head to Arizona

ATLANTA -- It is not Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon or Ben Revere, but the Phillies made a trade Sunday.

They acquired the No. 1 overall signing slot ($3,590,400) for the 2015-16 international signing period from Arizona for Class A Lakewood right-hander Chris Oliver, Class A Lakewood left-hander Josh Taylor and the team's No. 9 overall signing slot ($1,352,100).

The trade allows the Phillies to sign 16-year-old outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz and avoid penalties that would prohibit them from signing international players for more than $300,000 until the 2018-19 signing period.

"We're trying to do some things internationally for this signing period," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Turner Field. "Clearly, that's important to us for a variety of reasons. One, for today and also for tomorrow. I think it was important for us not to curtail [our] ability to continue to add prospects."

The Phillies entered the international signing period Thursday with an allotted $3,041,700 to sign international players, but the trade boosts that figure to $4,562,550 because teams can only acquire 50 percent of their international bonus pool. Sources told that the Phillies and Ortiz have agreed to a bonus near $4.2 million.

This trade allows the Phillies to sign Ortiz and others, including Venezuelan catcher Rafael Marchan, and not incur a penalty.

Teams that exceed their pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. The Phillies would have blown past that percentage without the trade.

The D-backs, Angels, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees exceeded the 2014-15 pool by at least 15 percent, and cannot sign any pool-eligible players for more than $300,000 until the 2017-18 signing period.

"This keeps our hands untied, so to speak," Amaro said.

Amaro said he hopes the Phillies can finalize something with Ortiz in the next couple weeks.

The Phillies selected Oliver in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and he is ranked by as the Phillies' No. 20 prospect. He went 4-5 with a 4.04 in 13 starts with Lakewood. The Phillies signed Taylor as an amateur free agent in August. He is 4-5 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 starts.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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