The Orioles announced Thursday the signing of two international corner infielders -- both teenagers -- that club executive vice president Dan Duquette believes are “potential everyday major league players that can hit in the middle of the lineup.”
The two players are: 17-year-old first baseman Carlos Diaz, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound left-handed hitter who was purchased from the Mexico City Red Devils and is a native of Ensanada, Mexico; and 16-year-old Jomar Reyes, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound, right-handed-hitting third baseman from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Both will start their careers in the rookie Gulf Coast League.
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“They’re very exciting and I’m glad to get the great cooperation from Dan to get this thing done and get both of them signed,” said Fred Ferreira, the club’s executive director for international scouting. “They were very much sought [out] by other clubs.”
The Orioles would not reveal how much it cost to procure the duo, saying only that it was “substantial.” Reyes received a straight bonus, whereas the Orioles had to buy Diaz’s contract from the Mexico City club with Diaz getting a portion of that purchase price.
Ferreira said three other teams were in on Diaz and “at least a half dozen” were interested in Reyes.
In his lengthy career, Ferreira has signed international talent such as Vladimir Guerrero and Bernie Williams. And he projects that this duo matches up with many of the players he has signed through the years. He compared Diaz to free agent Kendrys Morales and said Reyes reminded him of former New York Yankees All-Star Clete Boyer.
The Orioles have improved their farm system in the past few years, but it is considered both top heavy and pitching-centric. Duquette said these additions were a step toward bolstering the system’s offensive capabilities.
“We have been developing pitching through our minor league system and these are two signings of two top quality position player prospects to add to the position player depth of our minor league system,” Duquette said.