With the opening of the new international signing year on July 2nd, the St. Louis Cardinals have $2.9 million to spend, same as the other MLB organizations.
The Cards announced the signing of three players on the first day, outfielder Luis Bandes, catcher Joshua Lopez and shortstop Edmundo Sosa. More will be disclosed in the upcoming weeks and months.
In terms of potential, none of the three approach the status of Andres Serrano, however.
In early February, it was disclosed that the now-18-year-old right-handed pitcher from Santiago, Dominican Republic had agreed to terms with the Cardinals back in October. As is always the case, the deal was pending approval by Major League Baseball.
That approval is not coming as disclosed on Monday by Cardinals director of international operations Moises Rodriguez.
“Serrano failed his MLB investigation and is ineligible to sign with anyone for one year,” Rodriguez explained. “We’ll continue being active and looking for more opportunities as always.”
Rodriguez declined to provide specifics as to the reason for the action, but it is age/identity-related, not a failed test for PEDs. The latter would have meant a 50-game suspension, not one year.
Serrano caught scouts’ attention with a fastball that reportedly reaches 96 mph, a good curve, developing slider and the makings of a changeup. Last spring, the right-hander pitched in El Torneo Supremo (the Great Tournament), a talent showcase organized by MLB in the Dominican Republic for unsigned prospects.
His $750,000 bonus would have been the third-highest ever paid to a Cardinals Latin American signing after Serrano's countrymen Carlos Martinez ($1.5 million) and Roberto De La Cruz ($1.1 million).
Because Serrano’s investigation was not complete when the 2012 Dominican Summer League got underway, the Cardinals had to place him on the restricted list. Now, he will not be suiting up with the organization - or anyone else for at least the next 12 months.
In March, the Cardinals organization lost another signee, 17-year-old Dominican left-handed pitcher Erick Hurtado, to a failed PED test.
Bonus for The Cardinal Nation subscribers
In the following audio interview, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation, Rodriguez discusses where the approval process sits with the signed players, their contracts and playing status as well as what might be expected ahead from the organization this signing season.
Listen to Audio (5:19)
In addition, Rodriguez recently recapped the first half of the 2012 Dominican Summer League Cardinals season for subscribers.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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