The Cincinnati Reds have an agreement to sign Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.

The Reds have an agreement in place to sign 19-year-old Cuban infielder Jose Garcia, pending a physical. It will be a minor league contract with a bonus expected to be around $5 million.

Updated to add the video, via Baseball America’s Youtube Channel

On Friday I wrote a little bit about Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia. Within there, I noted that I was able to speak to two people who had seen the 19-year-old play and here’s what I wrote:

One source said he was a good prospect, but not a top 15 caliber guy in this class. I should have asked whether he meant the 2016-2017 class or the upcoming class of players that will be eligible to sign on July 2nd, but I didn’t think about it at the time. The other person said something similar, saying that he was ok, but not a top level guy.

I was able to speak with another source who has seen Jose Israel Garcia play and their view was quite a bit better than the other two guys that I spoke with last week. His view was more along the lines with what Jon Heyman has been reporting. Garcia’s an up-the-middle guy defensively, but a guy who has a good bat, too. He’s a physical guy already at 19. While I was told he’s not on the same level of a guy like Luis Robert, the source did say he’d rank him right there with any of the position players in the 2017 draft.

The Cincinnati Reds have been considered the favorite for the services of Jose Israel Garcia according to Jon Heyman last week. The $5M spent to sign Garcia will carry a $5M penalty that will be paid to Major League Baseball. The team has now spent $33.5M (including penalties) on three Cuban players in the 2016-17 International signing period, locking up shortstops Garcia, Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez. While the big league payroll dropped off, the team hasn’t been cheap on the international market as they continue to add talent and try to build for the future.

42 Responses

  1. Wolfpack Sting

    It’s a good night to be a Cincinnati Reds fan.

  2. Steve

    Great news! Along with AlfRod and Hernandez, the 3rd international SS signing of note in the last 2 years. Will he challenge Gonzalez and Vargas in Dayton? More likely to start in Billings or Arizona?
    Well, time to save our pennies again for the next 2 years until we can make our next big international signing.

  3. Paul Nyhart

    Did he play in the same league as Robert, Rodriguez, and Gutierrez? If so will he start in high A or will they wait until Billings rolls out to get him acclimated to the U.S.

  4. Doug Gray

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he started in the Dominican Summer League, much like Alfredo Rodriguez did last year. That seems to be the new thing. Luis Robert will be playing there with the White Sox this summer. If he comes stateside, I’d guess it won’t be any higher than Arizona, at least to begin with. He’s just 19-years-old.

    • CP

      Does this guy project better with the bat than Alf. Rodriguez? And what is the age difference between those two guys?

      It will be interesting to see how the middle infield picture of the Reds pans out over the next few years with so many potential pieces.

      Peraza- MLB
      Herrera- AAA
      Vincej- AAA
      Long- AA
      Blandino- AA
      Daal- AA
      A. Rodriguez- High A
      Senzel- High A (Could be moved to 2B if Suarez is entrenched at 3B)
      Garcia- ?

      • Doug Gray

        From what I’ve heard, he projects better with the bat, but isn’t as good on defense (which isn’t surprising given how good Alfredo Rodriguez has reportedly been on defense).

    • Chris

      Doug,

      What are your thoughts on justification for going after yet another shortstop in same age range??

      • The Duke

        AlfRod is 22 and in High A. JIG is 19 and will either be in the DSL or the AZL.

  5. Steve

    Wonder where or if he will be placed on the top prospects list. Interesting that the lowest paid of the 3 Cuban players signed is the highest prospect. I don’t see him being placed above Gutierrez.

    • Doug Gray

      I certainly won’t rank him above Gutierrez, but Gutierrez is going to be moving up a few spots when I do put out new rankings, too. I’ll talk to some more people about Garcia, but I did like the things I heard today.

      • Steve

        Yeah, looking at your list, I can see him moving up a couple of spots as Garrett will graduate and ahead of Aquino.

      • Doug Gray

        Garrett and Stephenson are out (pretty sure Garrett passed the 45-day limit, but I’d have to go count to be sure – either way, it’s soon).

    • The Duke

      Unless he just destroys the DSL, he isn’t getting ranked by me until he does something stateside. Same thing with Cristian Olivo and Miguel Hernandez, our bigger IFA signings from 2016.

  6. Steve

    Doug, are you planning on updating your top 25 prospect list midseason? I’m sure there’s some movement in your mind based on what’s happened in the first half of 2017.

    • Doug Gray

      It depends on how the draft plays out and when guys sign. If the first two rounds worth of guys sign quickly, the list will be up sooner. If they hold out a while, I can’t update it until they sign/don’t sign. I’m not going to update it, then update it again for each one of them to sign. I usually do it around the first week of July. That’s when I’d expect it to happen again.

      • Steve

        Thanks, looking forward to the updated list. There are more than a few guys that I see that will move up because their performance in the first half as well as those that will drop because of their lack of performance, so to speak and because they haven’t even played(Travieso and Kahaloa). There are also players that should move into the list(LaValley, Moss?) and the first 3 or 4 draft picks. Brice will also graduate as it stands by the way he’s pitching.

  7. Todd Jones

    Any pictures of this guy yet? I did a quick google search, to no avail.

    • Doug Gray

      Until 6 hours ago, the only people I had even seen write about his existence on the internet were Jon Heyman and myself. So, I’d venture to guess there are no pictures of him out there just yet.

  8. Alex Reds

    Exciting the Reds are making huge investments in their farm, with an unbelievable amount of spending in the last year. This is more commitment to building the future. Great job Dick Williams and the ownership team.

  9. Bill

    Great to see the Reds bring another young SS into the fold. While not an “apples to apples” comparison, his reported $5M bonus would imply he’s on par with first round draft talent in the eyes of the Reds.

    • The Duke

      Most 1st round talent would get $10 million plus if not constrained by the rules of the draft. The top 5-10 guys would likely go for $25 million plus if not higher.

    • Wes

      Either that or his agent knew the reds would overpay. Kinda wild how much reds will vs other teams. Definitely happy we added a guy but reds seem to be paying more per player than anyone else.

      • Doug Gray

        The reason it seems that way is because all of their big signings are Cuban guys, who are getting more than other Latin American guys because they are older, more advanced, less risky.

        And I’ll say this much, too: what they paid Vladimir Gutierrez seemed like a bargain at the time. Today, it’s almost laughable that they “only” had to pay him $4.75M.

  10. Brad

    Kudos. Appreciate the Reds making a continued effort to improve. Gutierrez and Alf-Rod have performed to or above expectations, in my opinion. Based on little news about Garcia, its a bit surprising he signed for 5M. Great to have another well thought of prospect who can play SS/CF.

    • Brad

      Updated and last time I will post.

      If Reds in fact made a 22M offer to Luis Robert, and I have a GREAT source on this one, this is what I would have liked to see the Reds do with the 22M, including Garcia. Because signing Cuban players and signing a 16-year old Dominican player are not the same, I will only include Cuban players.

      SS/CF Luis Garcia (19) – $5M
      RHSP Norge Ruiz (23) – $2M
      LHSP Cionel Perez (21) – $2M
      CF/RF Lazaro Armenteros (18) – $3M
      3B/RF Yanio Perez (21) – $1.1M
      RHSP Ronald Bolanos (20) – $2.25M
      RHSP Elian Rodriguez (20) – $2M
      RHSP Johan Oviedo (19) – $1.9M

      Total: $19.25M

      • Greenfield Red

        Hey Brad. As far as I’m concerned, there is no need to not bring this up. I’m ok with not signing Robert given the price, and like you, I think the Reds needed to do more in the current period. I think Yanio Perez was pretty closely linked to the Reds and I think one of the pitchers who got away over the winter (Perez or Ruiz) was too.

        That said, I’m thrilled with this signing, and I’m hopeful for one more before the 15th.

        I know you’ve posted this a few times and I’ve posted a few times that the Reds have got to find an advantage somewhere if they’re going to compete for a World Series in the next few years. For now I’ll sit back and watch the farm system develop. There are names to watch beyond the big names we see everyday.

      • Brad

        Agree. I have posted it enough. Just circling back. I like the signing. Have been a proponent for making this a 10-12 year window in a rebuild. This kind of signing plays into the back end of that window.

  11. Smitty

    Is this the same Jose Garcia listed on the MLB top international prospect list? Seems like different scouting reports unless he grew a lot. Also,I read where he played with Luis Robert in 2015 18U World Cup in Japan. He batted .382/.417 and in 2016 he batted .320/.426. I know he isn’t the same pedigree to Robert but I wonder how he stacked up to him

    • Doug Gray

      No. That Jose Garcia is the much older one that signed with the Cardinals.

      In the U18 World Cup he didn’t quite hit as well as Robert, but it was close. They were the only two guys to hit at all on that Cuban team. No one else topped an OPS of like .650 and they were both over .900.

      But, that’s a rather small sample size. Robert, at the same age that Garcia was playing in the “minor leagues” of the Cuban system, was OPS’ing over 1.100 in their big leagues. He’s a different type of guy – which is why he got $25+M versus $5M.

  12. Arnold Ziffle

    Much ado about nothing. That is $10M wasted and down a drain. This wreaks of a consolation prize after striking out so badly on Luis Robert. Reds needed to make a big splash with this signing period ending soon and they barely made a ripple with this signing.

    Come on, Arnold…. you know better than to use that language.

    • Chris B

      What are you basing your opinion on? It seems everyone thinks he is at least a solid prospect. I get not doing backflips over it but what sense does it make to be this negative about talent aquired.

      • Arnold Ziffle

        Why negative about this?
        The Luis Robert debacle.
        The mention by “the source” that he is comparable to the top position players in this year’s draft is beyond absurd. That one comment to so offensive.
        We need some context on that comment. Did “the source” only see him play one time and can then make such a bold proclamation? How often did “the source” see him play? Why is so little known about this player if he is so good?
        More questions than answers at this point.

    • Arnold Ziffle

      Sorry. Didn’t mean to go out of bounds. I guess I should have said urinated, or just flushed. I didn’t know that word was a no-no.

  13. Chris B

    On John Heymans piece he was described as a Manny Machato type without the power. Even without the power it’s a nice pickup!

    • Dan

      Does that make Tim Adleman a Noah Syndegaard type without the velocity?

      • RobL

        While funny, it maybe true. Adleman has pitched 122 big league innings with a 4.18 ERA. That is a solid #5 starter. Out of the Reds current pitchers playing, he may be the ace. Sad, but true. I was just thinking this morning that Adleman may be clinching his spot in the rotation.

        Syndegaard without the velocity is pretty good with this Reds offense. And having Hamilton run down all those flyballs he gives up sure does help.

      • RobL

        Also, Machado without the power could describe Xander Bogaerts.

  14. Jordan Salisbury

    Doug do you know if the Reds are linked to any other international prospects that they could sign before the June 15th period starts? Surely they would try to swing one more signing before then, I hope so anyway

    • Alan

      Does anyone else think his swing looks Griffey-esque?