Baltimore Orioles Announce International Presence, Execute Next Phase
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles are now players in the international market, adding an entirely new dimension to the organization.
Welcome to a new era of Baltimore Orioles baseball! Finally, the Orioles found themselves extremely active on July 2nd, signing a reported 27 international free agents to the organization, formally announcing their arrival onto the international scene.
None of the bigger names or highly regarded members of the 2019 international class signed the dotted line to join the Orioles, but this class still marks a tremendous accomplishment for Mike Elias, his scouting department, and everyone else who played a role in this process. We don’t know who these players are, outside of a few workout videos here and there of a few names, but that doesn’t matter right now. July 2, 2019 was another big step in a complete overhaul of an organization that fell far behind the competition.
In total, the Orioles signed 27 players- 16 out of the Dominican Republic, eight from Venezuela, one from Colombia, one out of Aruba, and one from the Bahamas. The complete list of names can be found below.
With all of the big names already unofficially committed to organizations for the last year or more, the 2019 signing period was more about creating relationships, beginning the formation of those pipelines, and making a presence.
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Because many of these international players create relationships with teams at such a young age, the odds of Baltimore landing a top 30 player next year are low, but it won’t be long before fans see the Orioles throwing out multi-million dollar signing bonuses to elite international prospects with the potential to become franchise-changing players. It feels great to say that and know it has real potential to become a reality.
As pointed out by Baseball America’s JJ Cooper, the Orioles signed a total of 27 international free agents over the last three signing periods. They matched that total today.
We’re two-three years away from seeing the most talented players of the group reach the lower level of the minors and five or more years away from seeing these kids in the upper minors, fighting for major league playing time, but good things take time and the rebuild isn’t going to be over in two or even three seasons. This is just the foundation of a new, stable franchise.
Mike Elias and his staff have found successful major league parts at next to nothing costs (Dwight Smith Jr. Pedro Severino), they stockpiled the lower minors with talent from the MLB draft, including elite prospects in Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, and now the first corps of international talent has arrived. What’s next for Elias and company? The trade deadline is quickly approaching and while the Baltimore Orioles have very few trade chips, I expect the front office to keep this positive momentum going and find a way to impress us.
While a small handful of these newly signed players bring with them intriguing scouting reports, these are 15 and 16-year-old kids who will spend the next few years in the Dominican Summer League. No one knows what type of players these kids will develop into, but at least the Baltimore Orioles are now in the mix. There’s plenty of work left to do, but the next phase of the rebuild is off to a notable start.