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.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.