Cardinals set to sign two top 30 teenage talents as international amateur market opens

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St. Louis Cardinals early position players gather before an informal workout during St. Louis Cardinals spring training on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

Chris Lee

Derrick Goold

After they established themselves as a more active participant in the international market more than a decade ago, the Cardinals – through trial and error and several successes – shaped and developed strategies they’ve come to trust.

They like to spread the wealth and take advantage of time.

When this year’s international signing period opens Saturday, the Cardinals will be one of eight teams with the most money to spend, a purse of $6,262,200. The only NL Central team with the same limit is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals expect to finalize a deal with a top-30 catching prospect, Venezuela’s Luis Rodriguez, sources said before the lockout began. Shortstop Jonathan Mejia, a top-15 prospect from the Dominican Republic, is also expected to sign with the Cardinals when the market opens, Baseball America reported.

For the second consecutive year the usual July 2 signing period has moved to January, adjusted due to the pandemic. This year, the international signing period will go from Saturday (Jan. 15) to Dec. 15. Teams cannot trade their spending pool during that time. Players must be 16 when they sign to be eligible.

Many of the top players are expected to finalize Saturday agreements already in place. The top prospects in…

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