M’s busy internationally

 Every July 2 Major League clubs race to finalize deals with teenage prospects. Most of these prospects are from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. A few hail from Columbia, Brazil, South Korea, Panama or Nicaragua. Often these players fizz out and never reach the big leagues. Sometimes, however, they turn out to be Kings.

The international market is how the Seattle Mariners landed King Felix Hernandez ($710,000 in July, 2002), and the club was busy Wednesday, getting deals done for five players, according to various reports.

The big one is outfielder Brayan Hernansez, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound outfielder, whom the club reportedly signed for a bonus of $1.85 million.

Ben Badler of Baseball America penned a scouting report on Hernandez here (subscription req’d). That page also includes reports on another of the Mariners’ potential signings, shortstop Christopher Torres, a switch-hitting shortstop.

Click here to track the signings as they become official, but note that list will not reflect all reports of signings as the clubs and Major League Baseball have to certify them.

The entire list of Seattle’s signings:

Brayan Hernandez, OF — Venezuela
Ismerlin Mota, C — Venezuela
Danny Contreras, OF — Dominican Republic
Steve Branche, SS — Dominican Republic
Juan De Paula, RHP — Dominican Republic

More signings could occur as the summer progresses. Due to the age restrictions — each player must be 16 years of age or older before signing — players will turn 16 in the coming days, week and months and sign their deals. Occasionally the terms will be agreed upon prior to the 16th birthday, which may explain reports of a signing when a player has yet to turn 16, but it cannot be made official until then.

The Mariners started the signing period with $3,440,700 to spend, the sixth-most in baseball. Here is the full list of bonus pool money.

Here is how the slot values play out and here are the penalties for busting the allotments.

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Jason A. Churchill

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