Jonatan Machado

The St. Louis Cardinals have confirmed the deal with their top international signee, Cuban CF Jonatan Machado, and added two others

The St. Louis Cardinals have confirmed the deal with their top international signee, Cuban centerfielder Jonatan Machado, and added two other free agents.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Friday) that they have signed Cuban centerfielder Jonatan Machado to a minor league contract in addition to shortstop Erik Pena and catcher Ivan Herrera during the current 2016-17 international signing period that opened on July 2.

Machado, 17, is a prototypical leadoff hitter with plus speed and advanced defensive skills.  The left-handed hitting Machado is from La Habana, Cuba and played for Cuba’s Gold Medal winning team at the 2014 15U IBAF Baseball World Cup in Mazatlan, Mexico.

“Machado is a dynamic player who has the ability to affect the game in many ways,” stated Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez. “He makes contact at a high rate and is an ignitor on offense.”

The 5-9, 155-pound Machado batted .336 in 137 plate appearances for La Habana’s 15U youth league team in 2014, striking out in only 4 pct. of his at-bats. The Cardinals have scouted Machado during both the 2014 World Cup and since he arrived in the Dominican Republic late last year.

Machado has been signed to a 2016 contract and will be immediately assigned to the DSL Cardinals team.

The Cardinals also announced today the recent international signings of the switch-hitting Pena (Valencia, Venezuela) and the right-handed hitting Herrera (Panama City, Panama).  Both players are 16 years of age.

Machado, Pena, and Herrera join a prior group of 13 international signings that were announced by the Cardinals on July 3.

Brian Walton’s take

As it turned out, the delay in completing Machado’s deal was less than two weeks. According to, Machado received the same $2.3 million that was reported on July 2nd, a team record for an international signee and more than the Cardinals’ entire budget this year. lists his first name as the traditional Jonathan, but we will go with the spelling in the team’s press release.

Pena coming to terms with the Cardinals was first reported by Baseball America three days ago. The Venezuelan was one of five prospects whose tentative agreement with Boston was voided following an MLB investigation into the Red Sox’ signing tactics last year.

Herrera is a new name to be connected to the Cardinals, as far as I know. Because he and Pena are on 2017 contracts, MiLB will not list them on the DSL roster. Once I can secure their vital information, I will include that on their player pages and update the DSL roster here at The Cardinal Nation.

With Machado being activated, the DSL Cardinals roster will be one over its active limit of 35, so another transaction is coming.

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