Cardinals Sign Dominican P Carlos Matias

The St. Louis Cardinals have added four new youngsters from the Dominican Republic to their academy team, including a very high-profile pitcher.

Approximately 90 days ago, I included the following in an article which noted the signing of a pair of teenagers by the St. Louis Cardinals from the town of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

"We may continue to hear about Puerto Plata in conjunction with Cardinals signings in the future," I wrote, noting the organization has been placing increased emphasis in the area, which previously yielded Oakland's $4.25 million pitcher Michael Ynoa, among others.

In late February, Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez told me this. "There is a big-time pitcher from there that we are keeping tabs on," he divulged. "He is going to be a big signing in the next couple of months. We have a lot of interest in him and have been engaging with the agents. We'll see where that goes."

This "big-time" signing has now come to fruition.

With the official start of the 2010 Dominican Summer League (DSL) regular season on Saturday, team rosters have been finalized and published both on the official league site and by Minor League Baseball.

Among the four newest Cardinals on both versions of the DSL Cardinals roster is pitcher Carlos Matias. The 18-year-old is well-known among prospect circles as a top talent, albeit one with a checkered history.

The right-hander has a fastball that has reportedly been clocked in the mid-90s. Back in March, in an insider article, ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. speculated that Matias could receive as much as a $500,000 to $1 million bonus. At the time, the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks were allegedly very interested in the hard-throwing teenager.

This isn't the first time Matias has come to terms with a MLB organization. Last year, he agreed in principle to a deal with the Boston Red Sox which would have netted him a $160,000 bonus. That contract was voided after he failed an age and identity check, but other than losing time, Matias may actually have prospered by his misdeeds.

Rodriguez was obviously pleased about the signing when reached in Santo Domingo Saturday night.

"The Matias signing was tricky all around, but he is under contract to the St. Louis Cardinals and we are extremely pleased to have him under reserve with our organization," Rodriguez said. "He's a special talent with tremendous present ability and potential to have an impact at the Major League level in the very near future."

Despite the good news, the Cardinals are not quite ready to break out the champagne.

"There are some steps that still need to be taken before he is cleared by MLB and a US visa is issued so we can't celebrate quite yet," Rodriguez said. "But we are prepared for any decision that's rendered."

The Cardinals traditionally do not divulge bonus amounts.

The other new Cardinals that complete the group of four new signees are a pitcher, a middle infielder and an outfielder. All are still teenagers.

Newest Cardinals  Pos.  B/T  Ht  Wt  Age  DOB  Hometown 
Carlos Matias RHP  R/R  6'0  166 18 9/21/1991 Puerto Plata 
Addelin Ceballo RHP  R/R  6´0  190 18 6/29/1991 Santiago 
Robelys Reyes SS  S/R  5'9  150 19 7/25/1990 Valverde
Domingo Diaz OF  R/R  6'2  166 18 3/8/1992 Bani 

Robelys Reyes is another player with a Boston connection. He was originally thought to have been signed by the Sox in May 2008, but apparently his contract was never signed amid a report of an injury. Like the others, Reyes will be making his professional debut with the DSL Cardinals.

Six previously-signed players were not assigned to either the DSL or Venezuelan Summer League active rosters. Their respective situations are listed below. Two are in the US at extended spring training, one was released and three are out of action.

The most unusual situation is that of Grabiel Hernandez, now known as Ronny Gil. The shortstop has been placed on MLB's Disqualified List for a period of one year as he was discovered to have a different identity during the US visa application process. He also aged 2 1/2 years in the process, from October 1991 to March 1989.

Gil is still allowed to receive instruction and participate in training activities, but will be ineligible for league play until 2011.

MIAs Pos Sign Age Disposition
Juan Mercedes LHP 12/07 21 (Tues.) Released
Pedro Pena LHP 1/08 19 Restricted
Juan Castillo C 7/06 20 Extended
Grabiel Hernandez SS 7/08 18 Disqualified
Braulio Hiraldo 2B 4/06 21 Restricted
Starlin Rodriguez 2B 10/09 20 Extended

(As a reminder, to access each player's profile, just click on his highlighted name in this or any article or for team rosters, see the red bar in the center of the page under The Cardinal Nation logo. Also, to see the entire system on one page, the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog will be maintained all summer long.)

To keep track of these players and the entire Dominican Summer League roster, check out our daily Minor League Notebooks and our weekly DSL Cardinals Notebook, back for 2010 each weekend exclusively here at The Cardinal Nation.

In fact, you can read about the details of Matias' professional debut in Sunday morning's Minor League Notebook, exclusively for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Brian pens a column each Wednesday at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and selected TCN content appears at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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