Cards agree to deal with Seijas, No. 11 on int'l prospects list
By Jenifer Langosch and Jesse Sanchez
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals signed five players on Thursday, the first day of Major League Baseball's international signing period, highlighted by right-hander Alvaro Seijas out of Venezuela. Seijas, 16, ranked No. 11 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list.
The organization also reached agreements with shortstop Raffy Ozuna (Dominican Republic), right-hander Anthony Trompiz (Venezuela), right-hander Brian Pirela (Venezuela) and right-hander Noel De Jesus (Dominican Republic).
According to industry sources, Seijas received a $762,500 signing bonus, while Ozuna's deal is worth $600,000. Both players will join the organization's Dominican Summer League team.
In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool with four slot values based on the team's record in 2014 for the international signing period. The overall pool total for St. Louis in this year's signing period is $2,038,200.
"We have a very limited pool as far as what we could do, and I think Moises [Rodriguez, director of international operations] did a great job securing those five players today," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I sent him a very happy email, and I'm glad he got it done."
Scouts love Seijas' stuff -- specifically his fastball that has reached 94 mph -- and his makeup. The belief is that his secondary pitches will improve as he develops, and as he receives daily instruction in the team's academy.
"Just pure arm strength and size is very attractive to us," Mozeliak said of Seijas, whose father played professional basketball in Venezuela. "It's not normally where we go [as far as bonus dollars are concerned], but we felt it was worth a gamble. At some point you have to try. Based on where we had him ranked in terms of pitching for this year's July 2 [signing period], we felt it was worth it."
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Seijas trained in Maracay, Venezuela, with former Major League infielder Carlos Guillen. Guillen also trained outfielder Daniel Montano, ranked No. 12 on MLB.com's Top 30 international prospects list. Montano agreed to a $2 million deal with the Rockies.
Ozuna, 16, is a switch-hitting shortstop and the son of current Dodgers Minor league coach, Rafael Ozuna, who played Minor League baseball for the Dodgers. Ozuna is listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds.