Back when we were talking about possible international free agent signings, I put one pitcher on the top of my list as far as who to keep an eye on: Juan Carlos Paniagua. Here's what I said at that time...
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP, 22, Dominican Republic: Don't quote me on his age because Paniagua has already had a couple of contracts voided, one with the Diamondbacks, when he was known as Juan Collado and actually pitched in 2009 in the DSL as a reliever, posting a 4.66 ERA. The Yankees then signed him last year for $1.1M and his contract was voided again. So what's to like about Paniagua then? Well, he throws mid 90s consistently and can touch the upper 90s. Some like his change but there are questions about his breaking stuff and feel for pitching. He won't be eligible again until July 19th.
Well, it's July 19th and he has signed with the Cubs for $1.5M. Even though he is an international free agent signing, his age will dictate that he moves quickly. He may start in the DSL to get his feet wet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him move into full season ball by the end of the year.
The Cubs have now spent 2.2 million dollars on two players, IF Frandy de la Rosa and Paniagua. They are allotted $2.9M, giving them 700K left to spend on an additional player or players. However, I was informed by Jim Callis of Baseball America that the Cubs can spend up to 50K on 6 additional players and an unlimited amount for under $7500. The rules only apply, as I understand it, to players under the age of 23, so the Cubs could go after another Cuban, RHP Armando Rivero.
Filed under: International players