The Orioles added to their crop of international prospect signings Tuesday by announcing contracts with 16-year-old infielder Moises Ramirez and 19-year-old right-hander Carlos del Rosario, both of the Dominican Republic.
Ramirez, who signed for $225,000 — the highest bonus the Orioles have given out this signing period — was part of a group reported by The Baltimore Sun last week that included outfielder Damien Valdez for $200,000 and outfielder J’Rudjeanon Isenia for $125,000. The club announced outfielder Isaac Bellony, 16, agreed to a contract last week as well.
“Today’s signings are part of a coordinated plan for the Orioles to reestablish the club in the international recruiting arena,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said in a statement. “Ramirez has all the tools to be a solid offensive player in the middle of the diamond, and del Rosario has the size and pitches to develop into a major league pitcher. Our player development staff looks forward to working with them to further develop their skills.”
The announced signings come a day after the Orioles, who acquired international signing bonus slots from the Atlanta Braves totaling $2.75 million in addition to their allotted slots worth just over $5.5 million, traded some slots away for 23-year-old infielder Jack Zoellner from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Zoellner, a 2017 ninth-round draft pick who hit .236 with a .786 OPS and seven home runs in the Gulf Coast League this year, is seen as an asset by the organization as a left-handed-hitting infielder, something they have few of. In that sense, they’re using the bonus slots they have to add players in every way necessary, with the amount they built up surplus to requirements in a barren market where many top players were snapped up right after the July 2 deadline.
The current wave of announcements is part of a set of deals finalized late last month, with the total bonuses in the $700,000 to $800,000 range.
That leaves plenty of allotted money for the likes of Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, who will be eligible once he establishes residency and clears MLB protocol, or any other high-profile free agent to hit the market from the Latin American or Asian market this fall or winter.