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Chicago Cubs Sign an Additional Trio of International Prospects

As we discussed recently with the big international free agent signing out of Bulgaria (yes, the first prospect ever signed out of Bulgaria!), this is not the time of year you would typically expect to be seeing a flurry of IFA signings. But the Chicago Cubs are in signing mode, not only with Yoanis Aleksandrov out of Bulgaria, but also with a trio of prospects out of the Dominican Republic.

Per Ben Badler:
The Cubs have signed Elizaul Chalas, switch-hitting shortstop from the Dominican Republic. pic.twitter.com/wgJCj8Tq42
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) April 13, 2022

The Cubs have signed Melvin Amador, lefthanded pitcher from the Dominican Republic. pic.twitter.com/eTOJQSMxny
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) April 14, 2022

Wilmer Mora, RHP from the Dominican Republic, signs with the Cubs. pic.twitter.com/mf5FA2R1RE
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) April 13, 2022

Pitchers signing outside the typical period (mid-January now, but previously early July) was much less unusual, because the scouting – and early agreement – process for teenage pitching prospects sometimes just takes a different path. But a quick Google search on Chalas suggests he has been on the international prospect radar for multiple years now.

So how is it that these prospects, including Aleksandrov, who received a near six-figure bonus, are only just now signing? And how do the Cubs have IFA pool space left to sign them?
Well, a lot of possible answers there, but I don’t have any hard info. As with Aleksandrov, it’s possible the Cubs had been on him for a while, and knew they would have to reserve some IFA pool space to have a real shot at signing him. Maybe Chalas, for example, got a legit bonus, and the Cubs always knew they were going to need to save some for him (I don’t know if either of the pitchers might be that type, too). Or, it’s possible that these three new IFA signings received only very small bonuses of the type that don’t count against the pool.

It’s also possible that one or any of these guys had a preliminary agreement with some other organization that fell through late, and they were thus left to choose from only very small bonuses among the other interested organizations (one of the serious pitfalls of the current system, which you’ll recall is potentially changing to a draft). It’s ALSO possible that the Cubs had a deal of some financial consequence fall through, and they were thus left with extra IFA pool space to spend on the few prospects who were available to sign late.

A lot of possibilities when there is this kind of cluster of IFA signings months after the open of the period. It only matters if you are an uber prospecting nerd and want to know that nitty gritty, though. For most of this group, it’ll be years before they are (or are not) on our radar as legit Cubs prospects – such is the reality for international signings who were not huge bonus babies at the signing deadline.

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.

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US women’s basketball dominates on international stage – KRQE News 13

KRQE NEWS 13 – Breaking News, Albuquerque News, New Mexico News, Weather, and Videos
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by: DOUG FEINBERG, Associated Press
Posted: Oct 1, 2022 / 12:54 PM MDT
Updated: Oct 1, 2022 / 01:04 PM MDT
by: DOUG FEINBERG, Associated Press
Posted: Oct 1, 2022 / 12:54 PM MDT
Updated: Oct 1, 2022 / 01:04 PM MDT
SYDNEY (AP) — A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are keenly aware of the legacy of success they are part of with the U.S. women’s basketball team.
They don’t plan on letting the incredible run end any time soon.
“I don’t think we’re showing signs of stopping, that’s for sure,” Stewart said. “We have a lot of people are entering their prime or are in their prime.”
Wilson and Stewart helped the U.S. to a fourth consecutive World Cup championship Saturday with an 83-61 win over China, setting a record margin for a gold-medal game.
“Everyone knows that when you come here, when you wear USA across your chest the (pressure) that comes with it,” Stewart said. “It’s just embracing that. All the legends before us and what they’ve done, how they’ve won. Each team is different and we need to make our imprint on history.”
This team left its mark on the World Cup as one of the most dominant teams in the Americans’ storied history, winning four straight gold medals and 30 games in a row in the tournament. Next up for this group is the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The Americans will be trying for an eighth consecutive gold medal there.
“This is something that’s special to us. It’s not lost on us what’s been done since 1996. I hear about it all the time,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “What I wanted to do is make sure this journey was fun. Because I think there’s some times when you have pressure to win or the perceived pressure, it takes the enjoyment out of it.”
What started with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi has now been passed down to Wilson and Stewart. With Alyssa Thomas the oldest player at 30, the domination could continue for years to come.
“It’s been an incredible journey just to continue to lay that foundation down like so many of the greats in front of us have,” Wilson said. “Now it’s our turn to step up and be in that situation.”
The U.S. (8-0) finished the World Cup averaging 98.8 points — just short of the mark held by the 1994 team that averaged 99.1. They won by an average of 40.8 points, topping the amount by the 2010 team.
“Maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey now’s the time to get the USA,’” Reeve said. “I think what we showed is that our league, the WNBA and professional basketball players in the United States are really, really good.”
As they’ve done all tournament, the Americans did it on both ends of the court, playing stellar defense as well as using a high-powered offense.
The game was a sellout with nearly 16,000 fans — the biggest crowd to attend a women’s World Cup game since the inaugural tournament in 1953 in Chile.
“You can’t say people don’t support women’s basketball,” Stewart said of the crowd. “If you look at all these people in this arena tonight. There was a lot of people cheering for us and against us, but they’re here watching women’s basketball.”
While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite to win the gold in Paris, there are new teams emerging. China won its first medal since the 1994 World Cup, and Canada reached the medal round for the first-time since 1986.
“I think every team will learn from this experience. You gain a lot of knowledge in the World Cup,” Reeve said.
___
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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New York Liberty, WNBA players populate World Cup rosters – The Associated Press – en Español

SYDNEY (AP) — New York has long been known as a melting pot, a city of diversity.
That moniker also works for the city’s WNBA franchise, the New York Liberty, which has seven players competing in the women’s World Cup for five different countries.
Overall, there are 27 players in Sydney who competed this season in the WNBA, plus a few others like Lauren Jackson, who either played in the past or were drafted but haven’t competed in the league yet.
Before the U.S.-China game, Betnijah Laney and Han Xu exchanged a hug. The two Liberty players are on opposite teams a few weeks after their WNBA season ended with a playoff loss to Chicago in the opening round.
“That’s one of my favorite parts about the New York team, we are so international and we’ve got such great talent from all over the world,” Australian Sami Whitcomb said. “I think that represents our fan base as well. It’s really amazing to come here and still get to see your teammates.”
Laney and Sabrina Ionescu are with the U.S. Han is playing for China. Bec Allen and Whitcomb are with Australia along with New York coach Sandy Brondello and her husband Olaf Lange, who lead the host nation. Draftee Sika Kone is on Mali and fellow draftee Marine Fauthoux plays for France.
“It’s really cool to have teammates here and compete against each other. It’s a great experience for all of us,” Laney said. “It’s definitely something that’s pretty cool to have the diversity and to come together. It does extend to our fan base.”
Whitcomb said that the Liberty players talked about the potential of them all coming to Sydney for the World Cup.
“How fun it would be to have so many of us over here and we were all going to see each other,” she said. “We didn’t know how many people would make the teams, so it’s amazing.”
All the teams are staying in the same hotel near the arena. Whitcomb said the Liberty teammates have been getting coffee with each other in between games.
“It just goes to show we’re very international that’s for sure,” Brondello said. “To get two players on the USA team that’s always hard to break into but I’m proud of those two. They’ve worked so hard to get there and you know the Aussies go without saying but Han is doing a great job as well.”
There’d be an eighth Liberty player in the tournament, but Marine Johannes got hurt right before it began.
New York isn’t the only WNBA team well represented in Sydney: Seattle has five active players as well as Jackson. The Storm’s coach, Noelle Quinn, is an assistant with Canada. The Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces have four players each.
The players all also share a common dining room for meals, giving them chances to interact off the court.
“I’m happy to see my teammates playing in the World Cup,” Han said. “Before I only had two teammates but now I have a lot of them on different teams and it’s nice to see them around.”
___
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Zelenskyy calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism; Biden calls on U.N. to stand with Ukraine – CNBC

Zelenskyy calls Russia a state sponsor of terrorism; Biden calls on U.N. to stand with Ukraine  CNBC
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