Campos Jumps Cardinals Ship for Mariners

The recent signing of a Venezuelan pitcher by the St. Louis Cardinals was voided and the player inked a deal with Seattle instead.

In the Wild, Wild West that is known as Latin American amateur-to-professional baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals were painfully reminded recently that a "done" deal really isn't until all the necessary ink is on the paper.

Two months ago, I reported that back in November, one of a number of international prospects signed by the Cardinals was a 16-year-old right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, (Jose) Vicente Campos.

The 6-foot-4, 198-pounder was not yet the required 16 years of age on the last July 2nd signing date, having become eligible on July 27. Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez was especially excited about landing Campos, calling the youngster one of "the two best remaining July 2 pitchers on the market at the time".

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, in a situation mildly reminiscent of the ups and downs of signing of college athletes in the USA, Campos is now a member of the Seattle Mariners system instead.

According to Rodriguez, here is how it unfolded.

Campos, represented by a local agent in Santo Domingo, signed his contract at the Cardinals' Dominican Republic academy in November. Subsequent to the signing however, the Campos family had a major disagreement with the agent and severed all ties.

Upon Campos' return to Venezuela, his family refused to sign the contract to which they had previously verbally agreed. MLB offices were approached for a ruling and after studying the situation, decided the contract was not enforceable without written parental consent.

In other words, Campos' parents were basically allowed to renege on the deal and their son returned to free agent status. With the additional time and attention, other deeper-pocketed bidders apparently entered the fray.

A disappointed Rodriguez summed up the situation. "Seattle ended up signing Campos for more money than we were willing to pay."

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.

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