Diamond(back)s are Yoan Lopez’s new best friends…
The 21-year-old Cuban professional baseball pitcher and the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a contract that includes an $8.27 million signing bonus, according to multiple reports.
A hard-throwing right-hander, Lopez is expected to begin his Diamondbacks career in the minor leagues.
The Associated Press and MLB.com both reported that the $8.27 million bonus is the largest for a young player who resides outside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and subject to a team’s international signing pool under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
Lopez counts toward a club’s signing pool because he is under 23 and has played professionally less than five years in a Cuban professional league.
Because Arizona would exceed its pool of $2,316,600 by 15 percent or more for the one-year period ending July 1, the Diamondbacks would incur a 100 percent tax on the overage and be barred for the next two signing periods from adding an international player subject to the pool with a bonus over $300,000.
The Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels already have gone over their pools by 15 percent or more.
The Angels and 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin finalized an agreement on January 6 for an $8 million signing bonus.
Arizona agreed in December to a $68.5 million, six-year contact with 24-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas.