July 4, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (41) celebrates in the dugout against the New York Mets during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Phillies won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Phillies Begin Baseball Tradition of Signing Numerous Foreign Teenagers

We’re breaking a lot of traditions this year in Philadelphia.  For instance, last year, we had an almost nightly tradition of winning the baseball games.  In 2012, we decided to go the other way with it.  It sure has been crazy!

The front office is taking an almost frighteningly aggressive stance on signing young international talent this year, a fact illustrated on Monday, when teams were permitted to start doing so.

Sal Agnostinelli was the Phillies’ go-to man on this one.  The scout is a long time employee of the organization, so god only knows what they’ve asked him to do in the past.  We know one thing he hasn’t done is sign a whole lot of international players.  This is new territory for the Phillies, who are not notorious spenders when this day arrives.

However, they dropped $2,000,000 on several players, the headliner being Jose Pujols, who will spend his entire career, no matter its length, reminding everyone of the nonexistent relation between him and Albert.

Pujols–Jose, not Albert–is a 16-year-old outfielder who Sal said has “He’s got more power than I’ve ever seen out of a 16-year-old kid.”  When I was 16 I could bench probably 150 pounds.  That’s pretty powerful too.

“It’s amazing,” Sal continued, refusing to shut up.  “He has tremendous wall power. In games, he learns how to adjust.”  Yeah, great.  Powerful.  We get it.  You know what else is powerful?  Beating The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask in, like, 100 hours.  That’s power.  Have you ever even seen the Fierce Deity Mask?  Probably not, if you’re disagreeing with me.

Pujols was just strong enough to crack Baseball America’s Top 20 International prospects list at #20.  For his signature, the Phillies handed him $540,000, which, like any 16-year-old, he used responsibly and with his future in mind.

When I was 18 I found $154 lying on the ground.  My friend told me not to take it to campus police because they’d just keep it.  So in the name of civil responsibility, I slowly spent it on .40s and Bacardi 151 over the course of a semester.  And I didn’t even have to play baseball.   Maybe there should be a list for people like me, too, so that I could crack the last spot.  Yeah.  Yeah.

Anyways, I swore I could write this without becoming ashamed of myself, but he we are.

Other, less powerful people were also signed.  Sal said he inked a 16-year-old Dominican catcher named Devin Grullon for $575,000, whom he described as “strong, strong.”  But not “powerful.”  And another 16-year-old, a shortstop named Willerker Isava.  Sal said Isava, whom he signed for $200,000, could have gone for over a million if his bat a bit stronger.  To which Isava was reported to have slapped his hand to his head and yelled “Gee, willerkers!” in frustration.

Nope, still ashamed of myself.

All told, $2,000,000 was dropped into a market where the Phillies have been previously conservative.  A sign of their acknowledgement of the aging core, yes.  But longshots, all of them.  As was I once.  And look how I turned out.  I own this entire web site.  Well, I write on it.  My name’s over there in the sidebar.


Tags: International Signings

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