Padres, Cuban pitcher Michel Baez agree to $3M signing bonus

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Cuban pitcher Michel Baez and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a minor league contract with a $3 million signing bonus.

The 20-year-old right-hander, who is 6-foot-8, pitched for Mayabeque and Pinar del Rio in Cuba in 2014 and has spent time since then working on his mechanics. His deal was announced Monday.

San Diego has spent just over $38 million on signing bonuses for international amateurs in the signing period that began July 2, including agreements with Cuban left-hander Adrian Morejon ($11 million), Cuban outfielder Jorge Ona ($7 million), Dominican shortstop Luis Almanzar ($4.05 million), Cuban right-hander Ronald Bolanos ($2.5 million), Venezuelan shortstop Gabriel Arias ($1.9 million), Dominican outfielder Jeisson Rosario ($1.85 million), Venezuelan shortstop Justin Lopez ($1.25 million) and Dominican shortstop Jordy Barley ($1 million).

San Diego owes a tax of about $34.7 million for exceeding its signing bonus pool of just under $3.35 million.

In the next signing period, the Padres’ international signing bonus pool is capped at $5.75 million under baseball’s new labor contract — not including bonuses of $10,000 or less — but San Diego could increase the total by up to 75 percent by acquiring signing pool money in trades.

Because the Padres exceeded their current pool by 15 percent or more, they may not sign an international amateur for more than $300,000 for 2017-18 and 2018-19.