Cardinals announce four international signees

Two new Cardinals are July 2nd players, with two other previously-eligible players added. Update: Signing bonuses added.

The St. Louis Cardinals got out of the blocks early, announcing the signing of four international free agents, two of whom came to terms on their first day eligible here on July 2nd.

The four all hail from Latin America and were ineligible for the annual June First-Year Player Draft. Two are pitchers, one is an infielder and the other an outfielder. Two are from the Dominican Republic, one is from Venezuela and the other from Nicaragua.

The first-day signees are:

Carlos Talavera, CF, S/R, 6-1, 175 lbs.; Born: Sept. 20, 1996 (Maracay, Venezuela)
Hector Linares, SS, R/R, 6-0, 160; Born: Jan. 13, 1997 (San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic)

The club also reached agreement with the following two already-eligible players. All remain subject to passing a physical and an MLB background check:

Sandy Alcantara, RHP, 6-4, 170; Born: Sept. 7, 1995 (Azua, Dominican Republic)
Kerrion Bennett, LHP, 6-3, 160; Born: May 28, 1996 (Laguna De Perlas, Nicaragua)

Talavera, a centerfielder, prepped at the Venezuelan baseball academy of Carlos Guillen. He was ranked no. 28 in this class by Baseball America. By clicking on Talavera's highlighted name above, you can view three videos of him from the academy. has brief scouting reports on all four players.

St. Louis' Director of International Scouting Moises Rodriguez indicated that all four new Cardinals would be signed to 2014 contracts and will report to the team's Dominican Republic academy immediately. They will likely make their unofficial debuts in the fall.

Update: According to national baseball expert Kiley McDaniel, the four signing bonuses are: Talavera $500,000, Linares $400,000, Alcantara $125,000 and Bennett $30,000. The latter is below the $50,000 minimum to apply.

With the three signings totaling $1,025,000, the Cardinals have spent just under half of their $2,060,600 international allocation for 2013-2014 (49.7 percent).

That total is 19th-most in MLB, corresponding to 2012 winning percentage reversed. Clubs can also trade/acquire up to 50 percent of their allotted bonus pool amount.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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