Cubs sign SS Gleyber Torres, pitcher Jefferson Mejia. Still pursuing Jimenez, Moreno

As expected the Cubs signed 16 year old SS Gleyber Torres for $1.7M.  Torres was the consensus #2 prospect in the international pool with some scouts ranking him as the best overall player.  BAs Ben Badler had him ranked 2nd while's Jonathan Mayo had him ranked 3rd.

I wrote this about him back in March,

One scout described him as a toolsy player with the ability to defend with an above average arm, hit for average, steal bases, and hit around 15-20 HRs per year.  For a 16 year old, he doesn't offer a ton of projection but the Cubs like his polished baseball skills.  They like him enough, in fact, to invest over $2M to sign him.  Because they have the 2nd highest pool allotment, it will be difficult for any team except for Houston to outbid them.

And then this in May,

The scouts who like Torres, and we obviously have to assume the Cubs scouts are among them, feel he can stick at SS.   Torres is 5'11", 185 lbs. and doesn't have the frame to get much larger.  This is not a guy who is about pure projection, Torres already has advanced baseball skills for his age.  He has a strong arm and is  good hitter with some power potential.

It's a signing that would be consistent with the Cubs recent philosophy of going after athletic ballplayers in the middle of the field -- but ones with advanced skills and a high floor.

Some scouts have compared his hitting ability to Freddy Sanchez, but Torres' ability to possibly stick at SS would make that kind of offense a big asset at that position.

The Cubs also signed Dominican RHP Jefferson Mejia, 18, who can start playing immediately because his contract is for the 2013 season.

Here is Ben Badler's report,

Mejia was 6-foot-7, 190 pounds last year and was sitting in the high-80s fastball at the time, but now he’s listed at 220 pounds (although that might be a light estimate) and his fastball has jumped along with the increase in weight. While he was ineligible to sign, Mejia pitched at the Rays’ Dominican academy in January in the International Prospect League all-star game, where he showed a 90-93 mph fastball, a swing-and-miss changeup along with a solid curveball in the mid-70s. His athleticism also improved along with his strength, which helped him get in better sync with his delivery.

Unlike other July 2 signings, who sign contracts for the the 2014 season, Mejia can begin playing immediately. However, given the problems he had with his MLB investigation last year, there’s no way to guarantee he will be approved in time to pitch this season.

The Cubs pool total is $4,557,200 and they've spent 2.55M of that, so they still have $2M left to spend, though they could add money in a trade if they haven't done so already.  They are still pursuing consensus top prospect Dominican OF Eloy Jimenez and hard-throwing Colombian RHP Erling Moreno.  Moreno is currently at 87-90 mph.  He has a big frame and projects to be a power pitcher as he fills out and gains strength.  He pitches with good downward plane and has the makings of a good breaking ball and change with most scouts preferring the change right now.

I wrote this earlier on Jimenez...

We've talked about Eloy Jimenez in the past here and here, but Badler has more scouting information this time around.

Some scouts feel he is a better player than Elier Hernandez, who received $3M from the Kansas City Royals.  This year, Jimenez is widely expected to get the largest signing bonus in this year's class and Badler said the Cubs are in "heavy pursuit".  Earlier he had described them as "heavy favorites".  Scouts compared Jimenez with the Royals' Hernandez.  Here is one of those comparisons,

“He’s a lanky, long-armed hitter,” said a third international director. “He’s very similar to Elier Hernandez. They’re calm in the box during BP—(Nina) teaches them well—so they’re pretty efficient, pretty simple. They don’t have a lot going on before the swing and they’re not wild hackers, so that’s all good. But it’s all about games, tools turning into skills and how they perform in the game.”

For what it's worth, Ben Badler does not believe Eloy Jimenez will sign today.  That could still mean that there is an agreement in place but that the Cubs need to acquire more pool money.

Filed under: International players


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  • Awesome!!!

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    That's the one I really wanted. Like Jimenez too, but Torres was my favorite. I think they'll get both.

  • Kid is 16 years old, and has $1.7 million already.....that is lots of "pesos" ......compared to Freddy Sanchez........same Freddy Sanchez who has been on the DL for the last decade?......kid will be ready when the Cubs make a run for the pennant in 2020......hopefully.

  • Anyone else for us to watch, John?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Biggest name is Eloy Jimenez, who some consider the top prospect in the class. Texas in on him too and they've been trading for money.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Unless the Rangers are going to go over their budget significantly, I think they're SOL. They've already signed Yrizarri for $1.5M and word is they're signing a guy named Almonte who won't turn 16 until late for $1.8M. They can only double their pool through acquisitions, so it doesn't seem like they'll be able to acquire enough $$$ unless they go significantly over budget.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Yes, I agree there. I believe Jimenez has already agreed, just a matter of time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think we're safe from Texas. They've already committed over their budget+half to other players.

    No way they have enough in the tank to get Eloy as well.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    It does appear that way. TX can't trade for enough money to beat Cubs.

  • waves and waves

  • In reply to Elden14:


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    The Cubs signed a Dominican pitcher with documentation issues....

    You know the old saying: once bitten, twice commit 1/5 of your budget to it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The guy sounds like a beast, though. Let's find him a home in the U.S.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The first thing I thought of when I heard the physical description of mejia was monster size kid! Hope he doesn't get too much taller. Lookin forward to seeing how he fares against better hitters.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I'm guessing he's going to have some serious mound presence!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    6'7" 220 and still a teenager? Who knows, a big lefty named Randy Johnson became a rather n oteworthy pitcher during his career. Power lefties are hard to find.,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is there any way to tell, if he starts pro ball this season, where he may start at?

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Either DSL or VSL

  • any word with eloy jimenez and the colombian pitcher?

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Both are still out there. One report already says Cubs have agreed with Jimenez but I'm waiting until Badler confirms.

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    In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Unless they're getting money for Clevenger (who knows?) it's hard to see how they'll have money for both Jimenez and Moreno. They only have about $2 million left to spend,and a decent chunk of that will go to Jimenez. That is, unless they decide to go over on signings this year and forget about next year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They can go 5% over this year without penalty for next year. It'd give them about $2.2M to give to Jimenez.

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    There's supposed to be a news conference early this afternoon to announce.

  • Like both signings. So many middle infield prospects now. We may soon have the Rangers' problem (Andrus and Profar). Not a bad problem to have.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    The Rangers should take advantage of their surplus an trade him to us don't you think? :)

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    Per, the White Sox have signed Micker Adolfo Zapata for $1.6M.

    I haven't heard you mention him, John. Any opinion on this kid?

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    Badler saying he doesn't expect Jimenez to sign today.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Waiting for teams to trade for money, perhaps?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Seems reasonable. It was just a tweet, so he didn't go into detail. If that's what's happening, interesting that the Cubs gave $850k to Mejia. Might be they aren't as sold on Jimenez as some in the scouting community.

  • My guess is the Cubs are going to give Jimenez $2.2M (just under the pool + 5%, the penalty doesn't impact next year's pool). If they can acquire more $$$, then they'll get Moreno too (and maybe bump up Jimenez's bonus a bit). But they have to wait to sign Jimenez until they acquire that extra pool $$$.

  • I want to know what Texas gave up to get that extra slot money from Miami

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    Jeffrey Loria gave away $300 K of slot money for a pastiche by Matisse entitled "La Petite Dejeuner du Maitre des Players Obsoletes sur la Parc Plasticque du Miami", or
    "The PiqueNique of the Owner of the Obsolete Players in the Plastic Park of Miami."
    Would have fetched $600 K but it wasn't signed.

  • whoa now, let's change tracks: according to KLAW Feldman is an Oriole...

  • Just for some context, I've been wondering, if these top International free agents (Torres for example) were in the regular MLB draft, what round would they be taken in?

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    The top 5-10 guys would go in the first round. The only thing that makes it tough to compare though is that these kids are 16. Players in the MLB draft are 17-18 if drafted out of HS or 20-21 if drafted out of college.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Well that definitely makes these signings a bit more exciting. Thanks for the reply.

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