Pittsburgh Pirates Favored to Sign a Top International Free Agent


It looks as if the Pittsburgh Pirates have put their final touch on the 2019-2020 International Free Agent class.  What is the expectation for this upcoming International class?

On Wednesday, it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms with Australian outfield prospect Solomon Maguire.  The team specifically added International slot money in the Starling Marte trade to be able to give Maguire the bonus he was looking to obtain.  The team reportedly ended up signing him for around $600K, which made him their second most expensive amateur signing of the 2019-2020 period.

With that, the Pittsburgh Pirates have likely exhausted all of their allotted funds for the 2019-2020 International signing period.  All in all, the team signed over 40 prospects, something that the previous regime was known for doing.  Former General Manager Neal Huntington seemed to operate with a quantity over quality approach and the Pittsburgh Pirates did not sign a single prospect to a seven figure deal.  Their top signing is pitcher Cristopher Cruz, who received $850K and then Maguire.

Apparently the new regime is going to take a more aggressive approach as they are already expected to sign one of the top-rated bats for the 2020-2021 International signing period. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates are the favorite to sign top Dominican outfield prospect Shalin Polanco.  He is a big left-handed power bat that projects to get a multi-million dollar bonus from the Bucs.  Here is what Badler had to say on the potential signing:

"In 2020, the Pirates’ biggest signing is likely to be Polanco, a Dominican outfielder expected to sign for around $2.5 million. The scouts highest on Polanco like his lefthanded bat and power potential. He trains with Sandy Nin."

Obviously this would be an exciting prospect to add to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  If he does agree to a bonus of $2.5 million then he will have received the Pittsburgh Pirates second-largest bonus ever for an International amateur prospect. This obviously suggests what the Pittsburgh Pirates new Front Office thinks of him, but even still he is considered one of the top three available outfielders.

This is what Pittsburgh Pirates fans should be expecting out of Ben Cherington and his staff.  He and the people he brings in around him have always had success finding top talent on the International market, and part of that is Cherington’s willingness to be aggressive.  His approach paid off in Boston when he ended up signing Xander Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, and Rafael Devers.

Next. Team Signs Australian Outfielder. dark

Signing a prospect like Shalin Polanco to that kind of money suggests that they believe he is going to be a future top 100 prospect and eventual all-star.  An aggressive approach by the new Front Office already looks like it could pay off.  They are potentially bringing in one of the top prospects available for the next signing period.  The previous regime faltered at this as they often tried to sign more players and “find” those upside prospects, something that has not exactly paid off.   He will not be able to officially sign until July 2nd when the 2020-2021 International Period officially starts.