Dodgers International Amateur Signing Period: Possibilities Plenty, Results Unlikely

July 2nd marks the start of the 2012 international amateur signing period, which also marks the first time bonus pools will be in place due to the new CBA. The bonus pool this year will check in at $2.9 million, which figures to make signings much more about managing assets than in previous years.

The Dodgers project to be busy during the period, but they may not end up with the players they covet most.

The Dodgers’ new ownership group seems obsessed with making a statement, but it looks more like a misguided marketing campaign than anything else. First they sent out a bizarre press release on May 24 with the headline, “Dodgers announce Latin American signings,” but never named the players that were signed.

This is the press release, and yeah, it was quite odd.

Their seven-year, $42 million major league contract for Yasiel Puig makes little sense for a player who may be the equivalent of a third-round pick, hasn’t played in more than a year, is out of shape and wouldn’t even face live pitching or run the 60-yard dash at his brief tryout in Mexico.

Already covered that here.

The Dodgers seem to be trying to make a push for some of the top international pitchers on the market, as sources say they’ve shown interest in Venezuelan righthander Jose Mujica, Venezuelan lefthander Jose Castillo and Brazilian lefty Luiz Gohara, but it looks like they’re going to miss out on all three. They are heavily tied to 15-year-old Mexican lefthander Julio Urias, who plays for Mexico City, where Puig had his light workout last weekend. Other teams think the Dodgers will sign Urias and a few other players from Mexico City in a package deal for close to $2 million. Since Urias is a Mexican-born citizen, only the amount he or any other Mexican players involved in a transfer deal receive (typically 25 percent) will count against their bonus pool. Dominican righthander Gabby Vizcaino looks like another target, while Dominican righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua would also fit what they seem to be after.

I expect the Dodgers to be busy, because if they spent $42 million on Yasiel Puig and don’t spend the maximum during the signing period, I’ll be quite confused.

Unfortunately though, it seems like they’ll be missing out on the top tier guys they’re pursuing. Regardless, even getting second or third tier types would be an upgrade over the previous regime, during which the team basically invested nothing into this market.

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