The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired International Bonus slot money from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Starling Marte trade. The team used it to sign an outfield prospect.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded outfielder Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was viewed as a three player trade with some cash exchanging hands. The Bucs sent $1.5 million to help cover Marte’s salary/buy out while the D’Backs sent $250k in International Signing Bonus money to the Bucs.
The immediate reaction was that the team was acquiring “money” in typical Pittsburgh Pirates fashion. However, this is not the case. When a team acquires International Bonus money, they are acquiring a slot-allotment that they are allowed to spend on International Amateur Free Agents. Every team in Major League Baseball has a hard-cap on what they are allowed to spend on these types of prospects. In this case, the Bucs acquired $250K that they are allowed to spend on the International Market.
Because the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired this money it was assumed that they needed it to complete another signing. One could look at the Marte trade as incomplete until the team spent that allotment on a prospect. The Pittsburgh Pirates apparently have officially spent that acquired allowance on a new prospect.
The team announced today that they signed 16-year-old Australian outfielder Solomon Maguire. Maguire is currently finishing up his senior year of high school in Australia and will likely join the Pittsburgh Pirates organization toward the beginning of summer. The amateur prospect website Perfect Game wrote up a scouting report on Maguire after seeing him at a showcase. They were impressed with his tools, writing:
"The speedster of the group… showed multiple tools that will play well at the next level. At the plate he showed a good feel for handling the barrel and getting his hands inside, creating some carry on balls hit to the pull side. In the outfield, Maguire is a natural runner with great instincts in getting to and receiving the ball.”"
On top of that, he finished with the best 60 yard dash time and the best throwing velocity from the outfield. Furthermore, he showed off a plus bat by ranking inside the showcase’s top 10 for hitter’s exit velocity. He is a left-handed hitter and has a standard outfield frame standing at 6’0” and weighing around 170 pounds, giving him plenty of room to add to his frame.
The team specifically sought additional bonus-allotment money to specifically sign him. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette actually confirmed this today. As Mackey said in his tweet, they must really, really like this prospect, which is good from a Front Office that is known for finding upside talent on the International Market. Adam Berry, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer for mlb.com, confirmed that the team indeed used their additional money to sign Maguire. Berry tweeted this afternoon:
General Manager Ben Cherington and the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office obviously really like what they are getting in Maguire that they deemed it so important to gain the necessary resources to sign him. He actually received their second-highest announced a bonus of the 2019-2020 signing period. The Starling Marte trade is officially complete and the team has acquired three young, but intriguing prospects in return. Overall, the team traded Starling Marte and $1.5 million in cash for Liover Peguero, Brennan Malone, and now Solomon Maguire.