Angels Sign Shortstop Roberto Baldoquin
The Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim in Orange County near Pasadena have officially signed 20-year-old Cuban defector Roberto Baldoquin to an $8M bonus — a figure that far exceeds the club’s $2.4M international bonus pool for 2014, leaving the team subject to a 100% tax on the overage. That means Baldoquin will actually cost the Angels about $14M when it’s all said and done. Further, it means that the Angels will not be allowed to sign any international players for more than $300K during the next two “signing periods.” But, that doesn’t mean they can’t sign more players during this signing period, which ends in June — leading to speculation that the Angels could be a contender for another prized prospect from Cuba, Yoan Moncada.
This deal for Baldoquin was originally reported back in early autumn, and is now official thanks to Baldoquin arriving in the U.S. and passing his physical.
Baldoquin will report to big-league camp in February, and is expected to begin the season in either AA or high-A ball. The 5’11”, 195-pounder can play shortstop, second base, and third base with equal skill, according to scouts.
Per Angels GM Jerry DiPoto:
“Roberto is a very well-rounded player. He can play all three infield positions, he’s a gifted defender with soft hands and the arm strength to play any infield position.
He has a very advanced feel in the batter’s box for what’s a ball, what’s a strike, and for using the middle of the field with a level line-drive stroke. He has power to lift the ball. The only tool that grades out as average is running speed.
He’s not a raw, let’s-wait-and-see-how-this-turns-out projection. He looks like a major league player now. He needs a little time in the minor leagues to adjust to a new country, but he’s a pretty mature kid. He has a skill set that is very well-balanced.”
Very little was known about Baldoquin here in the USA prior to the Angels’ publicized interest. We do know he played three years in the Series Nacionales, and his stats don’t look terribly impressive, though, it’s a small sample size (86 games). Based on scouting reports, some think there’s a slight possibility Baldoquin could step into the Angels’ lineup as soon as 2015; to me, that seems far-fetched, though we’ll see.
As far as I know, the Mets were never “in” on Baldoquin (hey! that rhymed!), but then again, I don’t know of any other teams that were, either.