O's tap into international market for D.R. OF

August 20th, 2018

The Orioles on Monday announced they have come to terms on a deal with international outfield prospect Isaac Bellony, a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. Bellony, who was born in the Virgin Islands, signed for $220,000, per MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

"Bellony is a young switch-hitting center fielder with power, speed and a strong arm, who was recruited by several clubs," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a statement released by the club. "We look forward to helping him develop into a Major Leaguer."

The signing is notable for the fact that the Orioles don't typically invest much in the international market, and instead use most of their international bonus slot in trades. But Duquette said the club intends to reverse that trend this year in an effort to jump-start a rebuild.

"I'd say two words, '[],'" manager Buck Showalter said, referring to the O's last homegrown international big leaguer, who was dealt to Milwaukee at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. "It's exciting for us if that [is] the case, it's not like we haven't signed anybody. ... Just look around the rosters of baseball, it's pretty obvious. Just watch All-Star Games, just do the percentages, it's obvious that that's a part of the industry that you need to be involved with if you can."

After trades, O's focus on international market

The O's have also signed Dominican Republic shortstop Moises Ramirez for $225,000 and outfielder Damien Valdez, also from the Dominican Republic, for $200,000. Additionally, they signed J'Rudjeanon Isenia, a center fielder from Curacao, for $125,000. Smaller deals include pacts with right-handed pitchers Carlos Del Rosario and Kelvin LaRoche of the Dominican Republic. The Orioles have an estimated $7.5 million in bonus pool left to spend on international prospects, more than any other team. They could be preparing to make a run at Cuban outfielder prospect Victor Victor Mesa, when he becomes a free agent and eligible to sign.

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Baltimore began the signing period on July 2 with $5,504,500 in bonus pool money, and it received an additional $2.5 million in the trade with Atlanta and another $250,000 from the Braves for reliever . The Brach deal last month represented the first time in the organization's history that it traded for international signing money.