Carlos Marmol, Scott Feldman trades clear space for international signings
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 2, 2013 9:47PM
Updated: August 4, 2013 6:34AM
OAKLAND, Calif. — The most significant part of the Cubs’ flurry of moves Tuesday might be the extra signing power they acquired to aggressively pursue some of this year’s top international free agents.
General manager Jed Hoyer confirmed the Cubs acquired a net of $963,000 in additional space under their MLB-mandated cap on the first day international players are allowed to sign with clubs.
Between the four-player deal with Baltimore and the Carlos Marmol deal with the Dodgers, the Cubs got about $5.5 million in budget flexibility — though much of the $2.5 million created by the Marmol trade will count against the 2014 budget by the time the multilayered transaction plays out.
Some of the $5.5 million recouped on this year’s budget already is earmarked for previous commitments, but the bottom line was that enough payroll freedom was created to use all the extra international cap room gained.
“We really like some of the impact talent in this year’s international class,” Hoyer said. “The addition of dollars can help us be aggressive in this market.”
It’s the second year MLB has imposed strict limits on international signing pools and the first year it has allowed teams to trade “slots” and their assigned spending values.
The Cubs increased their pool from just less than $4.6 million to just more than $5.5 million and, according to reports, already had used much of that to sign top-rated Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres ($1.7 million) and Dominican right-hander Jefferson Mejia ($850,000).
The Cubs also are said to be heavily involved in 16-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez, considered the top prospect in the Dominican this year.
The Cubs acquired two of Houston’s international slots in a trade for minor-leaguer Ronald Torreyes (acquired from Cincinnati in the Sean Marshall deal 19 months ago) and two more slots from Baltimore in the Scott Feldman trade.
They also sent one of their own slots to the Dodgers in the Marmol deal.