Cubs Sign 3 More International Free Agents

Though the Cubs did most of the heavy lifting in international free agency a couple months ago, they have continued to add young players from abroad with smaller signings. Three of those additions were reported by Baseball America’s Ben Badler on Wednesday, with shortstop Elizaul Chalas, right-handed pitcher Wilmer Mora, and left-handed pitcher Melvin Amador inking deals.

All three hail from the Dominican Republic, where the Cubs and other MLB teams have a very strong presence. That’s part of the reason so many current players remain opposed to the idea of an international draft, which might have a deleterious impact on local infrastructure even as it cleans up what has long been a very corrupt industry.

While the seedy elements of baseball training and scouting in the Dominican and elsewhere in the Caribbean and South America are in dire need of reform, thousands of kids who might not otherwise have access to formal education are being kept in school and off the streets. MLB has promised to clean up the system while adding millions of dollars to the bonus pool, but there are serious questions about where that extra money will come from.

Will teams shutter their international facilities to offset the additional cash outlays for bigger bonuses? Will they eliminate academies for young teenagers, knowing that there’s no longer a pathway to curry favor with kids and their families in order to gain an advantage when the requisite signing period opens up? Given the way baseball operates, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.

But back to the Cubs and their newest signees, starting with Chalas. A lanky 16-year-old, the switch-hitting shortstop has likely been on the team’s radar for at least two years. While playing on the Dominican Prospect League team in 2019, he was named MVP of an elite underclass tournament held in Chicago. Chalas was already listed at 6 feet and 165 pounds at the time and he appears to have grown taller since then.

Not much is available on either Mora or Amador, and by “not much” I mean basically nothing. That’s not entirely unexpected when you get to this point of the IFA period because these aren’t bonus babies who’ve been putting together highlight reels for years.


I suppose it goes without saying, but don’t expect to hear much more about any of these players for at least another two years or so. Some would still be high school sophomores or juniors and not even eligible to sign if they were in the US, so they’ll spend a fair bit of time at the organization’s Dominican facility before they’re ready to compete at higher levels.

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