The Reds officially signed Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia on Saturday, per a team announcement. The deal was reported by Baseball America’s Ben Badler on Tuesday and confirmed by the club after Garcia passed his physical on Thursday, but had yet to receive clearance from MLB. Garcia received a $5 million signing bonus, which cost the Reds $10 million after they exceeded the international spending cap.
Garcia, 19, is the third international player the Reds have picked up during the 2016-17 signing period. While he’s not projected to have the same ceiling as fellow Cuban prospect Luis Robert, he impressed in the Cuban junior leagues and batted .320/.426/.410 over 149 PA for the 18U league in 2016. According to Badler, the hot-hitting infielder profiles best at second base, but has the range for shortstop and the arm for third base if need be. He’s expected to report to the Reds’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League.
Prior to Garcia’s signing, the Reds also picked up Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez and right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez last year. Per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, they’ve spent over $17.5 million on 20 international prospects during the current signing period, handcuffing them to a $300,000 cap for any additional international signings they make over the next two years.