With a loaded farm system, which ranks either No. 1 or No. 2 in Major League Baseball, depending on the publication, the Mariners’ approach toward this international signing period was a little different than in recent years.
Instead of spreading their international bonus pool (dollars allotted for signing bonuses) over a large quantity of players, the Mariners used the bulk of their $5,179,700 available on a handful of players from Latin American countries, who were eligible to be signed as non-drafted free agents.
Frankie Thon, the Mariners’ director of international scouting, announced the signing of three players on Tuesday afternoon while Baseball America is reporting that Seattle has agreements with three other players that have yet to be finalized and announced.
Headlining the list of signees is 17-year-old outfielder Lázaro Montes out of Cuba, who will reportedly receive a $2.5 million signing bonus per MLB.com. The organization does not release contract terms.
The slugging left-handed hitter was rated as the No. 6 international prospect in this class by Baseball America and No. 8 by MLB Pipeline. The Mariners believe Montes, who stands 6 feet 5 and weighs just over 200 pounds, “has the ability to develop into an impactful middle-of-the-order power bat with solid feel for the strike zone.”
Given his size and expected addition of muscle to his frame, he projects to be a corner outfielder or first baseman. His compact swing and his plus-plus power potential has drawn comparisons to Houston’s Yordan Alvarez.
Seattle also signed 17-year-old Martín Gonzalez out of the Dominican Republic with a reported $1.3 million signing bonus. He was rated as the No. 19 prospect in this international scouting class by Baseball America and No. 48 by MLB Pipeline.
Listed at 5-10, 170 pounds, he is considered one of the best pure defensive infielders in the class. He is considered a candidate to remain at shortstop as he fills out and develops thanks to solid athleticism and a strong throwing arm. Scouts were also impressed by his hitting, showing more bat-to-ball skills and power than expected due to his body type.
The Mariners also signed infielder Michael Arroyo out of Colombia with a $1.375 million signing bonus. Though Colombia is not known as a traditional baseball hotbed, Arroyo will likely be the top player coming out of his native country this season. He’s increased his profile by playing abroad in a number of showcases and tournaments, including some in the United States.
He is rated the No. 24 prospect in the class by Baseball America and No. 41 by MLB Pipeline.
Listed at 5-11, 160 pounds, Arroyo, per the Mariners, “is considered one of the more advanced pure hitters in the 2022 international class. He stood out as a performer across different international events in numerous countries. Arroyo has a quick and compact swing with developing power and good knowledge of the strike zone with mature swing decisions.”
While he will likely start his career as a shortstop, he projects as a second or third baseman.
Baseball America has reported that Seattle has also reached agreements to sign right-handed pitcher Marco Patiño, out of Mexico, shortstop Joaan de Jesus from the Dominican Republic and right-hander pitcher Eduardo Tovar from Venezuela. The organization has yet to confirm those signings.
With the reported signing bonuses, totaling $5.175 million, the Mariners had $420,000 in bonuses for the other three signees.