Mariners sign 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero for $2.9 million

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Seattle has been quiet on the free agent and trade front so far this offseason, but the Mariners made a big splash in the international prospect market yesterday by signing 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero for $2.9 million.

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America that represents the highest signing bonus given to an international prospect this year, topping the $2.8 million Venezuelan pitcher Adonis Cardona received from the Blue Jays in July, and is the fourth-highest total of all time behind Michael Ynoa, Miguel Sano, and Gary Sanchez.

Seattle previously handed out a $2.2 million bonus to Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo in July, so while their major-league team disappointed in a big way this year the Mariners are making a huge effort to beef up their farm system.

Badler reports that Peguero is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound shortstop with “good bat speed” who’s likely to move to second or third base eventually. He also offers up some video of Peguero in action and Baseball America has a more in-depth scouting report as well.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.