After an MLB investigation found that the Red Sox failed to comply with league spending policy, the team was banned from signing international prospects.
Major League Baseball has banned the Boston Red Sox from signing amateur international players for the 2016-2017 signing period, after an investigation found that the team failed to comply with a league policy that said they could not sign a player for more than $300,000 during the 2015-2016 period.
The $300,000 ceiling came after the 2014-2015 signing period, where the Red Sox exceeded the international spending limits to secure infielder Yoan Moncada, who they gave a near $32 million bonus.
“The Red Sox skirted the $300,000 threshold by packaging highly regarded prospects with lesser ones, paying both similarly and allowing the players’ agent to give the lion’s share of the money to the better prospect,” a source told Yahoo! Sports.
In addition to banning the Red Sox from the 2016-2017 signing period, Major League Baseball has also voided the contracts of five prospects signed during the 2015-2016 period: outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti; infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba; and right-handed pitcher Cesar Gonzalez. All five players are Venezuelan and under the age of eighteen.
Per a report by Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox, MLB, and Players’ Association, in an effort to ensure the prospects are taken care of and that the transition goes smoothly, will allow the prospects to keep both the money that the Red Sox gave them and any new money given to them by other teams.
According to Drellich, the “MLB has sent people to the Dominican Republic to stage the transition. All the kids’ parents have been or are to be flown to their kids in the Dominican Republic, and the league is paying to put the kids and parents in a hotel. The league is also arranging showcases so other clubs can see them, a person familiar with the case said.”
Now, after the MLB works with the Players’ Association to find the prospects new agents, other MLB teams will be able to recruit and sign them. Guaimaro and Muzziotti are both significant losses for the Red Sox, as they both have consistently been ranked amongst the league’s top prospects.
Without these prospects, the Red Sox lose much of their flexibility when it comes to trading for players, most notably, starting pitchers. As many have been quick to point out, international prospects have been important in many of the Red Sox most important trades. One prime example would be last year’s trade for closer Craig Kimbrel, wherein the Red Sox traded a handful of prospects, including Javier Guerra, who the Red Sox signed in 2012 for $250,000; and Manuel Margot who they signed in 2011 for a reported $800,000.
The Red Sox have yet to comment publicly on the decision.