Astros AM: Latest International Signing News
Add another Cuban amateur free agent to an already impressive international class for the Houston Astros.
The Houston Astros have agreed to a deal with left-handed pitcher and Cuban native Cionel Perez. The agreement also includes a $5.15 million bonus.
Perez is another interesting pitching prospect to join the Astros system that is stockpiling international talent. The 20-year old pitcher left Cuba in May 2015 and he recently became eligible to sign with any team last week.
Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Perez is a pitcher with a “small but athletic build at around 5-foot-10, 160 pounds”. Badler also reported that Perez has shown a fastball that topped out around 94 MPH before he departed Cuba.
His secondary offerings are “still inconsistent”, but his slider has been reported to be “at least average”. The same Baseball America report also mentions that Perez has added new pitch to his arsenal, a changeup, that could become important to his development.
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Per an article from Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, once Perez passes his physical then the deal will be the largest in franchise history for an international amateur free agent. And this signing proves that the Astros are seriously leaving no stone unturned with this international amateur class.
After all, the franchise has already surpassed their allotted bonus pool on international free agents. Not to mention that the Astros will also have to pay a $10.3 million overage tax on the Perez signing due to exceeding that pool. And the current period doesn’t end until June 15, 2017.
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The Astros will now be limited to a $300,000 spending limit on international free agents for the next two signing periods. This could be an acceptable price to pay if the Astros feel like this international class is well worth the risk.