AP source: Boston given 1-year ban on international amateurs

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NEW YORK (AP) The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year, a penalty assessed after Major League Baseball concluded the team broke rules on signing bonuses last summer.

MLB concluded the Red Sox and buscones – local trainer/representatives of the players – worked together to evade a $300,000 cap on signing bonuses to five Venezuelan prospects who were 16 at the time: right-hander Cesar Gonzalez, infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba, and outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti.

A person familiar with the investigation said Friday the signing bonuses of those five were pooled with the bonuses of about 10 other players, and more than $300,000 was given to each of the five.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public comments were authorized.

Boston may not sign international amateur free agents – generally players under age 23 residing outside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico – for the signing period that starts Saturday and runs through July 1, 2017. The five players were declared free agents and are allowed to keep their prior signing bonuses.

The investigation was first reported by Baseball America and details were first reported by Yahoo.

Boston was subject to the $300,000 signing bonus limit in 2015-16 because it exceeded its bonus pool in 2014-15, when the Red Sox agreed to a $31.5 signing bonus for Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. The Red Sox took responsibility for breaking the rules, but are not sure who exactly in the Red Sox organization was aware at the time, the person familiar with the investigation said. The violations occurred before Dave Dombrowski was hired last August as president of baseball operations, taking over from general manager Ben Cherington.

“We are not at liberty to comment on an MLB investigation,” Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said.

MLB is investigating whether Venezuelan law allows it to ban the buscones from representing the five players in the signing period that starts Saturday.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.