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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.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) April 13, 2022

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

Wilmer Mora, RHP from the Dominican Republic, signs with the Cubs.
— 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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