With many big names on the international front the St. Louis Cardinals could be making a big splash this season.
As, we talked about last week when discussing Lazaro Armenteros, the St. Louis Cardinals are ready to become a big player in the international market. Baseball America’s Ben Badler is reporting that the Cardinals will be doing just that when the July 2 international signing period begins.
Badler says that there are a number of reasons that the Cardinals could go over their international signing bonus, he mentioned that one of the reasons is the fact that the Cardinals could lose draft picks thanks to Chris Correa.
While the Cardinals themselves have been extremely interested in Kevin Maitan from Venezuela and maybe even Lazarito. Lourdes Gourriel and Aleski Gourriel the brothers from Cuba who just recently defected are a couple of names the Cardinals could be potentially interested in. Aleski would not count against the Cardinals ability to sign any younger guys as he is 31, but at age 22 Lourdes would.
If you missed Derrick Goold’s piece on these two players earlier this week, I highly suggest you check it out. The story surrounding these two players is absolutely fascinating and could be open the door further for players to come to America from Cuba.
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While all of those players are absolutely interesting, here’s who Ben Badler says the Cardinals are known to be interested in, “16-year-old Victor Garcia, who could be the top-paid Venezuelan outfielder this year. They are also the team that sources say is most likely to sign 17-year-old Jonatan Machado, a speedy 5-foot-9 center fielder from Cuba with good bat control from the left side”
While there is not much out there on either player right now, Baseball America does have a highlight video for Machado, showcasing the center fielder’s speed and contact ability. In that piece, Badler quotes one scout as saying “He can handle the bat, he can bunt, he can hit to all fields and he has surprising power for his size. For his age, he really knows what he’s doing at the plate.”
This is very intriguing. Machado certainly sounds like a Magneuris Sierra, although from the looks of it Machado has a more power inducing stance than Sierra does. While the Cardinals have shown a hesitancy to get involved in Cuba before, the time is now for the Cardinals. Machado looks like an excellent get for the Cardinals if he does indeed wait to be signed during the July 2 international period.
If the Cardinals do in fact desire to go over their bonus allotment, don’t expect them to simply just sign one or two guys. They will get the most bang for their buck, as this will keep them out of the next two international signing periods.
What are your thoughts on the Cardinals’ involvement in the Cuban market?