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It’s international signing day

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Today is the day when the signing period for international free agents kicks off. We may as well call it “signing day,” of course, seeing as almost immediately after the starter’s pistol went off dozens of international prospects signed. It’s almost like they worked these deals out ahead of time!

Which, of course they did, even if no one ever admits it. Some of these 16-year-old kids have had handshake (or more formal) agreements in place with clubs for months. But let us dispense with that for a moment and assume it’s all on the up-and-up. If baseball can do it, why can’t we? And we don’t even have a federal grand jury looking into our treatment of the whole affair!

Most of you are likely unaware of most of these international prospects. As, frankly, are we, as we do not have any international and prospect experts on hand. But thank goodness we know folks who do know this stuff. One of the best is MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, who has a full story about all of this as well as a frequently-updated rundown of who has signed where and for how much. Follow him on Twitter for real time updates.

The big dog in this year’s international class is 16-year-old outfielder Jasson Dominguez, who Sanchez compares to Mike Trout. Which, yikes. The Yankees have an agreement with him for around $5 million, which is the most they’ve ever paid for an international signee, by far. Here’s Sanchez’s detailed story on Dominguez, in which some slightly more reasonable comps — Ozzie Albies, Rougned Odor — are made. Still, he sounds like a stud. Which is a super weird thing to say about a 16-year-old kid, illustrating how unseemly all of this can come off frankly.

The baseball world reacts to news of Kobe Bryant’s death

Kobe Bryant
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Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were two of five people who died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California earlier today. The pilot, a teammate of Gianna’s, and the teammate’s parent were also killed in the tragic accident.

Bryant’s death sent shockwaves throughout the basketball world, as well as the sports world at large. Here were a few reactions from the baseball world.

We certainly echo these sentiments, sending our condolences to the families and friends of those affected today. What a sad day.