It’s July 2nd and that means that Major League Baseball teams can officially begin signing international players again. Each team is given a spending pool amount and there are penalties if you go over them, but there are many teams that simply don’t care and spend five times their allotted amount and just deal with the penalties later (monetarily and by giving up the ability to sign big dollar guys the next year).

The Cincinnati Reds have one of the larger bonus pools available and they just agreed to spend nearly a third of it on 16-year-old outfielder Cristian Olivo. He’s a 6′ 2″ and 210 lb. center fielder (for now) who hits and throws from the left side.

He’s got plenty of bat speed to work with and projects to have power in the future, with some scouts saying it’s potentially plus. Olivo is currently a plus runner with a solid arm who could handle right field if he loses his speed with age and has to slide over to the corner.

The Reds have shied away from handing out seven figure signing bonus to international players since they went hog wild in 2008 and signed both Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran to $2.7M and $2M contracts that year. Olivo is the first time they’ve spent seven figures on a teenager outside of the draft since then, with the closest being the $730,000 they spent on LHP Jacob Constante in early 2013.

Olivo was ranked as the #23 prospect on the international market by MLB.com and he was ranked as the #25 prospect by Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs.  Below is a video of the outfielder taken earlier this year.

15 Responses

  1. kell

    Obviously I wish Cincy would spend crazy like some teams but at least they are spending their pool. Hopefully they sign the other kid you mentioned as well. Nothing more fun than already having something to look forward to in 2023.

  2. The Stache

    I just saw that the Mets signed #2 overall prospect and SS Andres Gimenez for $1.2m. You’d think the Reds would be in on a middle infielder with that potential if the money difference between the #23 prospect and #2 prospect was only $.2m.

    Doug, do you know the Reds strategy with this signing?

    • Doug Gray

      The issue with the rankings and the bonuses is that for the Top 50 guys, 90% of the deals have been agreed upon for nearly a year now. So while the rankings may say something versus the money – it’s a lot more complicated than all of that.

  3. The Duke

    Apparently we signed another Pedro Diaz today as well, but it didn’t say for how much. Saw it on Twitter

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, I searched around and couldn’t find any info on who he was beyond that we signed him. I’m hoping to get some information on the guys we signed in a week or two, info beyond the two big names that we already know.

  4. Tom

    Doug,

    Based on your stated preference of getting multiple picks from 500K-1Million versus spending a larger amount on one guy, how do you feel about this selection?

    Thanks!

    Tom

    • Dan

      Would i be crazy to say his swing is little like Griffey Jr’s?

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t have much of a problem with the signings of either guys. Generally speaking, you are starting to see good returns on the seven figure guys compared to 10 years ago, and when you can land premiere talent, there’s never anything wrong with that. It’s just that the odds are long with 16 and 17-year-olds that it’s easier to hedge your bets with signing more than a few mid-tier guys instead of just two big guys.

  5. tct

    He doesn’t seem to be getting much from his lower body with that swing. There’s no stride and he’s standing almost straight up. Looks like he’s getting some rotation from his hips, but nothing from his legs.

    So, all the scouts and armchair scouts out there; what do you think?