Spring training games are cancelled, and opening day remains a mystery but the Phillies remained busy this weekend on the international market.
They signed 18-year-old Yhoswar Garcia, a well-regarded center fielder from Venezuela, on Saturday and awarded him a sizable $2.5 million bonus. Garcia was one of the top prospects in last summer’s class, but was unable to sign because of an issue with his birth date. FanGraphs ranked Garcia as the sixth-best international prospect.
The 6-foot-1, 155-pound Garcia is a strong defender with a great arm. His defense earned him the nickname “El Dron” or “The Drone”, which Garcia had stitched Saturday night on the back of his first Phillies jersey. He’s still years away from Philadelphia as he’ll likely play this summer in the Domincan Summer League or Gulf Coast League, assuming those leagues are not shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Garcia’s $2.5 million goes toward the $4,821,400 bonus pool the Phillies had to spend on the international market, which was reduced last March as a penalty for signing Bryce Harper, who had rejected a qualifying offer from Washington. The Phillies signed 17 international players last July to deals when the market opened, but none of those players received large bonuses as the Phillies waited to land Garcia.