The Phillies opened the international signing period this year by inking three players, one of whom is ranked as the 8th best free agent according to Baseball America, and the 15th best free agent according to MLB.com. Arquimedes Gamboa headlines the list of players for the Phils who signed for $900,000. The switch hitting Venezuelan is a versatile player who can play all over the infield.
Just in case Gamboa doesn’t work out the Phillies signed shortstop Daniel Brito for $650,000. They then rounded out their day by signing left hander Jhon Nunez, a Panamanian who signed for $100,000. The Phillies still have a little over $1.5 million left from their allotted $3,221,800 to sign more players.
The Phillies, seeing a depleted farm system, have been very active the past few years on the international market. Last year they signed the #4 ranked player on Baseball America’s list (Luis Encarnacion) and also signed Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to what was originally going to be a $48 million dollar contract, but ended up as a $12 million dollar deal.
Even if guys like Gamboa, Encarnacion, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez never pan out, the fact that the Phillies are willing to spend big on the international market is a great sign. The Phillies farm system has been decimated by such trades as the Hunter Pence one, and the only way to restock it is though trades, the draft, and signing international free agents. Good news for Phillies fans, GM Ruben Amaro isn’t planning on packing it in. He’s stated he plans on spending the rest of the $1.5 million on other signings.