The Pittsburgh Pirates only made one trade at this year’s deadline and it was a rather minor deal. The team received international bonus money which they have since used.
It was rather surprising that the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to trade outfielder Jarrod Dyson. While he brings a veteran presence, speed, and defense, Dyson got off to one of the worst offensive starts in his career. The thought was that the team would eventually just designate him for assignment and see him be claimed on waivers.
That was not the case and the team was actually able to trade him and get something back for him. The Bucs acquired international bonus money (or cap space) to use toward signing prospects. It was assumed that the Bucs had used up nearly all of their allotted amount for the 2019-2020 signing period. The total amount the team acquired was $243,300, which was all the White Sox had left to spend.
Anytime international money is exchanged it is actually a positive. While many want to make comments about “Nutting’s Wallet”, international slot-money does not work like that . No actual cash exchanges hands, rather a number. Think of it like a salary cap; the Bucs received $243,300 on top of their allotment which was set by the League.
The other thing that is nice about international money is that fans can actually see where it is put to use. The Bucs obviously were looking to acquire that money because they had someone that they wanted to sign. According to John Dreker of Pittsburgh Baseball Network, the team has used that “money” to sign 17 year old pitcher Eduardo Zapata:
Zapata obviously brings some nice projection with him as a right-handed pitcher. He stands at 6’2” and has plenty of room to fill into with only weighing 160 pounds. Any player who received more than a $10,000 counts against the team’s over bonus amount, so it is very likely that the team needed the money for Zapata. With that being said, teams no longer announced bonus figures for players from Venezuela due to the civil unrest in the country.
There is not a lot of information out there on Zapata. Furthermore, most of last year’s International Class has already signed, which makes this interesting. Was this in communication between the two sides, and they just had to figure out how to get the money first? Or did Ben Cherington, Junior Vizcaino, and staff come across someone they really believe in? It is hard to say, but one thing is for sure, it is rare to see significant (six figures) signings this late, so there must be something that intrigued the Front Office.