Three days after the beginning of the international signing period, the Nationals announced four more deals. Right-handed pitcher Tomas Alastre, right-handed pitcher Pedro Avila, left-handed pitcher Gilberto Chu and right-handed pitcher Christian Flores all inked deals with the Nationals.
Alastre is listed as a 16-year-old, 6-foot-4, 170-pound pitcher from Venezuela. Avila, 17, is also from Venezuela and a right-handed pitcher, but is shorter at 5-11. Chu is 16, 5-11 and from Panama. Flores, 16, is described as possessing an athletic body with a good arm.
The Nationals spent just under $1.5 million on 11 players, according to Nationals’ Director of International Scouting Johnny DiPuglia. On July 2, the first day of the international signing period, the Nationals announced only five deals because the others were being finalized.
The Nationals have a bonus pool of $2.188 million to spend on international signing bonuses, and they can spend roughly $2.3 million without incurring a prohibitive fine. Some teams will break the bank and not worry about a fine, but the Nationals are expected to stick to the pool assigned to them by MLB. With only $1.5 million committed so far, there still have plenty leftover.
The Nationals targeted value and quality instead of spending on a handful of splashy signings. None of the four announced signings was in Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects rankings. DiPuglia is excited about Elastre, a position player-turned-pitcher who he said has a clean delivery and lively arm.