According to Baseball America, the San Francisco Giants are ready to give out the first big international bonus they’ve given out since signing Marco Luciano in 2018.
Baseball America published their first “Big Board” covering the top players of the 2021-2022 international signing class, and the Giants were connected to one of the players named. The Giants are expected to sign 16-year old shortstop Ryan Reckley out of the Bahamas when the period begins.
The period would normally begin on July 2nd, but the 2020 period was delayed until January 2021, and a similar delay is expected for the 2021 window.
Baseball America says the bonus would be more than $2 million, which would be the biggest bonus given internationally since president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi took the reins, and the first since the big class of Luciano, Luis Matos, and Jairo Pomares in 2018. Luciano, who was ranked the #2 player in that class, received a $2.6 million signing bonus.
Reckley is described as having plus or better speed and quick actions at shortstop. He’s a switch-hitter that’s better from the right side with gap power.
Reckley notably comes from the Bahamas, which is where another big signing the Giants made was from. The Giants signed Lucius Fox in 2015 to a $6 million bonus, as the #3 ranked prospect in that year’s signing class. The move was a rare time where a player signed with a different team than they were connected to, as Fox had been connected to the Dodgers.
Since Zaidi took control in 2019, the Giants have spread money around more and not gone for big signings. In 2019, the Giants’ top bonus went to Venezuelan shortstop Aeverson Arteaga for $1 million, and also signed pitcher Esmerlin Vinicio for $800,000 (who ranked #23 by MLB in the class, the only Giants signee that was ranked). For the 2020 signing class (which started in 2021), their top signing was Diego Velásquez, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic. Velásquez was ranked #22 by MLB, again, the only Giant prospect that was ranked.
Because of the large signing, the Giants had to go into the penalty, meaning they could not give bonuses over $300,000 for the next two years. The Luciano class was the first Giants class after the Fox penalty. Teams can no longer go over limits and incur penalties as they did in 2015, which is why bonuses can no longer get so large. The Giants’ total signing pool for the 2021 period was $5,348,100, less than the Fox signing bonus alone.
Despite the penalty, the Giants did well in signing players with small bonus limits. Top prospects Alexander Canario (’16) and Luis Toribio (’17) were both signed under the $300K limit.
The lack of big signings may not be a function of Zaidi’s direction, as often the relationships that lead to international signings are developed years before the signing happens, which is why the signings are often predicted with few surprises as to who might sign with what teams.
The signing ranked as the #8 biggest bonus on Baseball America’s big board. The rankings are based on bonus amount rather than talent, as the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the usual scouting from having taken place.