The Phillies made a splash in the international free agent market on Sunday by signing Luis Garcia, a highly-touted shortstop from the Dominican Republic.
Baseball America ranks Garcia as the 12th-best international free agent. MLB.com reported that the deal was worth $2.5 million. Garcia, 16, is a strong defender and a switch-hitter with a smooth swing who projects to bat near the top of the lineup. Sunday was the first day that teams could sign international free agents. The Phillies will spend their entire international bonus pool allotment of $4.75 million.
"These players are 16 years old. By virtue of their age, there is obviously risk associated with players that are this young," general manager Matt Klentak said. "Signing a few of them, allows us more likelihood to hit on them. That's part of [Phillies director of international scouting] Sal Agostinelli's strategy down there to bring in as many good players as we can."
The Phillies also signed, according to Baseball America: Colombian righthander Carlos Vargas, Venezuelan righthander Carlos Betancourt, Venezuelan catcher Cesar Rodriguez, Dominican righthander Israel Puello, and Venezuelan righthander Cristian Hernandez. Baseball America ranks Vargas as the 25th best prospect, Betancourt as the 41st and Rodriguez as the 42nd.
"I think Sal and his group did a really good job with this class," Klentak said. "There's a variety of skillsets with this class ranging from what we hope is going to be an impact middle infielder but also several intriguing arms, a couple catchers. They did a really good job of identifying players with different backgrounds and different skillsets and creating what we hope will be an impactful class."
Eickhoff should return soon
Jerad Eickhoff could start for the Phillies on Sunday after he makes a rehab start on Tuesday night with double-A Reading in Trenton. Eickhoff, who has been out since June 17 with a stiff back, is expected to make just one rehab start. If all goes well, he will start for the Phillies in their final game before the all star break.
Daniel Nava went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and now has eight hits in his last 18 at-bats. The Phillies should be able to move Nava, even if the trade has to come next month before the waiver-trade deadline. … The Phillies open a four-game series on Monday at home against Pittsburgh and then host San Diego for three before the all star break.