Nationals quiet on first day of international signing period

The Nationals are unlikely to make any high-profile (read: expensive) international signings today, the opening of the international signing period.

Earlier this season, they worked out outfielder Gustavo Cabrera and shortstop Wendell Rijo, widely considered two of the top 10 Dominican prospects eligible to sign. But the Giants signed Cabrera with a $1.3 million bonus, according to a report by Baseball America, and two people familiar with the Nationals’ plan said they do not expect the Nationals to make any splashy international signings today.

While the Nationals are not active in the international market today, they could still attempt to sign some of the top players as the signing period develops. As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to spend only $2.9 million on international free agents per year, starting today through June 15, 2013.

Nationals ownership has been hesitant to wade into the international market since the Smiley Gonzalez fiasco, when a Dominican player the Nationals signed for $1.4 million faked his age and identity. But the Nationals have rebuilt their Latin American operations with a new facility and a new staff, and the spending limit should lower the price to sign elite prospects.

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Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.


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