The Tampa Bay Rays may be capped from spending more than $300,000 on an international free agent this year, but that does not mean they are sitting quietly. The other day, they acquired another signing slot from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Bryan Bonnell.
In theory, this should have been a quiet international signing period for the Tampa Bay Rays. They were over their spending cap in the 2014-15 signing period, and as such, are not allowed to spend more than $300,000 for any one player. However, that has not slowed the Rays down, as they have signed 36 different international free agents this signing period.
While it has been a busy signing period for the Rays, they do not appear to be slowing donw. The other day, the Rays traded minor league pitcher Bryan Bonnell to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for the 71st international signing slot. In doing so, they now have another $321,000 to spend in the international market this period.
In exchange, the Rays have sent Bonnell, their selection in the 36th round of the 2015 Draft, to the Mariners. He started this past season with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, posting a 4.09 ERA and a 1.091 WHiP. In his 11 innings, Bonnell allowed 11 hits and a walk, striking out ten. The Mariners are getting an interesting player in their own right.
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While the top players may be off the board, and the Rays face limitations as to how much they can spend on any one player, they could still come away with solid talent. Their top signed prospect, outfielder Diego Infante, is considered an interesting lottery ticket, especially for those financial limitations. He has displayed excellent power, and should develop even more as he grows into his frame, but there are questions about his ability to make contact. Still, for just $300,000, he is the type of player that is worth the gamble.
It may be possible for the Rays to find another player along those lines. The Rays have done well with their signings thus far, and in their searches, may have found another Infante type of lottery ticket. If so, that trade to acquire the signing slot would be worth it.
The Tampa Bay Rays may be limited as to what they are allowed to spend this international signing period, but they have been busy nonetheless. With this trade, the Rays may have another signing or two coming down the pipeline.