Some interesting news is cropping up on the Latin American front, as Kiley McDaniel, who's covering the Latin American market for Baseball Prospectus this year, reported early this afternoon that the Pirates had come to an early agreement with Chesler Cuthbert, a third baseman from Nicaragua, for a $750,000 signing bonus that's expected to be announced on July 2nd. In an earlier article (both links are BP subscribers only), McDaniel rated Cuthbert as the #11 in terms of likely signing bonuses this summer, so he's clearly one of the more sought after talents in Latin America this summer.
What followed McDaniel's original article was an interesting exchange that highlights the real power behind some of the new social networking tools on the internet. Both McDaniel (@kileymcd) and ESPN's reporter covering the Latin American market, Jorge Arangure (@jorgearangure) have Twitter accounts and they began discussing Cuthbert this afternoon, with Arangure tweeting that the Royals were the favorites to sign Cuthbert, that the Pirates often visit Nicaragua and their presence there last week didn't necessarily portend a deal, and that it seems unlikely that they'll spend more on two players this year (Cuthbert and Sano) than they have in the entire previous history of their Latin American investigations. McDaniel responded by saying that he didn't disagree, but he'd heard Cuthbert attached to us for $750,000 in several places, and he'd had another call tonight that said the same thing.
The result is an interesting conversation between two of the more mainstream guys that cover this market about one of the prospects, unfolding in real time and for anyone to read. This makes two things pretty clear to me. One is that the internet is awesome, the second is that there's a ton of uncertainty in this market. Arangure and McDaniel both have plenty of contacts in the Latin American scouting world and they weren't really arguing over this, they were agreeing that they had come upon different, conflicting information and that the other could be right. As much as we can read and speculate and talk about this sort of thing, there's really no way of knowing what's going to happen on July 2nd.