ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers entered the start of the international signing period with more money to spend on prospects than they've had in several years. One day in, they have three Dominican prospects signed, a Venezuelan prospect expected soon, and a good chunk of money to spend as the
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers entered the start of the international signing period with more money to spend on prospects than they've had in several years. One day in, they have three Dominican prospects signed, a Venezuelan prospect expected soon, and a good chunk of money to spend as the market unfolds.
"We're definitely intent on utilizing all our resources," international scouting director Tom Moore told MLB.com in a phone interview Saturday afternoon. "You kind of have to go about it seeing how the market develops."
Here's a look at the three signings the Tigers announced on Saturday:
SS Wencel Perez: The Dominican teenage shortstop ranked among the more intriguing Dominican infield candidates based on a switch-hitting bat and athleticism. "He's a real fast-twitch shortstop," Moore said. "He's got a plus arm, defensive skills, a plus runner, a switch-hitter. He's got the tools to be a good hitter in the future with line-drive power. He really profiles to be a top-of-the-order hitter."
OF Ernesto Adames: No relation to former Tigers prospect Willy Adames, the left-handed hitter interested the Tigers for his offensive skill set. "He's got a chance to hit for average and also for power, especially to the pull side," Moore said. "He's a strong kid, with real good makeup. He's one of those guys who has a chance to make some noise with the bat."
INF Enrique Bautista: Like Perez, Bautista is a shortstop, though he appears likely to move to second base. At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, however, the teenager's offensive game is better-rounded. "He's a guy who at the plate has a short stroke," Moore said. "He shows the ability to hit in game situations. Probably long term he's going to get too strong for that position."
Still to be finalized is a $525,000 deal with well-touted Venezuelan outfielder Jhon Sandoval, as reported by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Tigers have not yet confirmed an agreement, which in most cases means there's paperwork and other details to be worked out.
The fact that the Tigers did not have a deal in place with a Venezuelan player at the outset of the signing period doesn't mean they've turned away from their longtime talent hotbed. Nor does it mean that the political unrest there has made things more difficult.
"We're continuing to be as active as we ever have been," Moore said. "It's not having much of an effect on our strategy."
Expect more signings, Moore said, as the days and weeks roll on. Detroit has the ninth-largest bonus pool at $3.15 million, up from $2,056,200 last year. While the Tigers largely stayed out of what they saw as a thin top end of the market, the difference is more likely to be seen as the signing period rolls on, giving the Tigers a chance to outbid teams for a deeper crop of middle-tier talent.
Current Tigers Steven Moya and Bruce Rondon were signed later in the period in their respective years.
"We can take advantage of it," Moore said.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.