Thanks to Braves penalties, there's a major free agent available in Kevin Maitan
Among other sanctions, Atlanta lost the player who was deemed the No. 1 international signing of 2016
The Atlanta Braves for international signing violations and there's plenty of fallout here to focus on. One aspect is that Kevin Maitan heads back to restricted free agency. That is important, since he was deemed the No. 1 international prospect before signing with the Braves in 2016.
Before spring training this year, Maitan was a consensus top-100 prospect in baseball. MLB.com even had him at number 32 in all of baseball. Keep in mind that many of the top prospects have since graduated into the majors, too.
Maitan is a shortstop who broke into Rookie Ball this past year, despite only being 17 years old -- more than three years younger than the average age for the league. He hit .241/.290/.340 with two homers and two steals in 176 plate appearances, but, again, he's only 17 and still getting acclimated to life in professional baseball after growing up in Venezuela.
Maitan now goes back into the international signing pool. One might ask which teams would like to sign him and the answer is veru clearly all 30.
Of course, he'll be likely the second-most coveted player available after Shohei Ohtani -- assuming MLB sorts out the posting situation with the MLBPA and NPB and the Japanese star becomes available this winter.
Per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, teams going after Maitan could either use their remaining bonus pool money from the 2017-18 pool or use next year's. He reports, however, that they can't draw from both.
The teams with more than $3 million in bonus pool money remaining for this year are the Rangers, Yankees and Twins. The Pirates have more than $2 million left while the Marlins are over $1.5 million and the Mariners are north of $1 million. Seventeen teams have $300,000 or less with the Indians and Rockies essentially tapped out at $10,000. The Associated Press has a full list.
Keep in mind, signing Ohtani means drawing from the above figures. Teams reportedly have the option to use this year or next year money on Maitan.
Most teams have their full pool for the 2018-19 international signing period, but those can vary. For example, smaller market teams get more if they get a competitive balance pick. Teams can also trade pool space. Also, the following teams are under penalty for the 2018-19 signing period for going over their limit in previous years: Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox.
Still, assume pretty much everyone is in on Maitan, even the Braves. And teams with lots of pool money remaining in the 2017-18 period could even try to grab both Ohtani and Maitan, creating a new interesting wrinkle in this winter's hot stove season.
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