Cards to Break their Latin American Record

General Manager John Mozeliak has apparently sealed the deal with the St. Louis Cardinals having reportedly agreed to terms with highly-regarded Wagner Mateo for a club-record $3.1 million.

After signing Roberto De La Cruz for a team record $1.1 million during last year's international signing period, the St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly agreed to another record-breaking deal. Though it won't be official until July 2, ESPN's Jorge Arangure is reporting that the team has come to terms with Wagner Mateo for $3.1 million, a new record bonus for a Latin America position player.

Arangure is reporting that General Manager John Mozeliak made a visit to Mateo's house in the Dominican Republic to seal the deal. The San Francisco Giants were also in the running for the outfielder's services but have backed off in recent days. Their offer was reportedly for $3.5 million.

Mateo is a scout's dream with a 6-foot-3 projectable frame and tools galore. A left-handed hitting centerfielder, he possesses a compact, strong swing and a mature approach at the plate. In game action, he has shown plus power to all fields which is a plus considering many scouts believe he will eventually make a move to a corner outfield spot.

Some teams believe that all of the 16-year-old's tools will eventually be 60 or above on the scouts' 20-80 scale. One player that draws comparisons is the Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton before Upton's shoulder problems.

Mateo has participated in MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program in Santo Domingo and has traveled to the U.S. the past two years to participate in the junior tournaments in which he also starred on the mound.

MLB has already investigated Mateo, who hails from Santo Domingo, and confirmed that his investigation came back OK. The investigators have begun using bone grafting to confirm the players ages.

Mateo may not hold the Cards' record for very long. Fellow countryman Miguel Angel Sano is considered to be the top talent during this year's international signing period. Sano has been linked closely to the Pittsburgh Pirates while the Cardinals have expressed interest as well.

Last year on July 2, Oakland signed righthanded pitcher Michael Ynoa to a $4.25 million bonus, the all-time record for Latin American bonuses. Also last year, Rafael Rodriguez set the record for a position player last year by signing for $2.55 million with the Giants. Mateo is represented by Edgar Mercedes, who also trained Ynoa at his Born To Play Baseball Academy.

Link to video of Mateo in action.

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