Nationals Set To Sign Elian Soto ... next January (2023):
Reports last week had Juan Soto’s 16-year-old (as of Monday) brother Elian Soto, another left-handed hitting ballplayer, headed to the New York Mets’ organization, but Byron Kerr cited an anonymous source on Twitter on Monday afternoon who told the reporter Elian will instead, eventually, sign on with the Washington Nationals who gave a then-16-year-old Juan a $1.5M bonus when they signed him back in 2015.
Elian Soto is expected to get significantly less. New York Post writer Ken Davidoff wrote last week that, “league-wide expectation called for Soto to sign with the Mets for a bonus in the $50,000 range.” Did the Nationals give him a little bit more to convince him to join his older brother (who turned 23 this past October) in the organization which brought Juan up to the majors as a 19-year-old in 2018.
“The Nationals’ offer, sources say, will be larger than $50,000 but still well below the $1.5 million the organization gave to Juan in ,” The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli and Maria Torres reported yesterday, noting that Soto’s bonus, “was a record amount for the organization at the time for a teenaged international free agent.”
As Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty noted, things could change between now and next January, when it comes to international signings:
There are still a lot of moving parts here.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) January 10, 2022
1. Given his age, Elian Soto won't be eligible to sign until January of 2023.
2. There is a chance international free agency changes in the new CBA (did you know that there currently is not a CBA?).
The news on the younger Soto comes after reports earlier this winter that the Nationals are expected to sign 17-year-old, Cuban-born outfielder Cristian Vaquero as soon as this year’s international signing period begins on January 15th:
The top name on our International Big Board is expected to sign with the @Nationals. What kind of power can Cristian Vaquero add to their farm system?https://t.co/OcKn6RHVei pic.twitter.com/MsGoLcNJrC— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 27, 2021
Vaquero is the No. 2 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top international free agents availablethis winter, with their scouts describing the switch hitter as a, “... potential five-tool player with lots of potential.”
“Vaquero is one of the most dynamic international prospects on the market. He’s also one of the most athletic.”
In contextualizing how talented they think he is, MLB Pipeline’s scouts wrote that Vaquero, were he a U.S.-born player, “... would be a high school sophomore and on track to be a top five pick in the Draft in a couple of years.”
Front Office Additions:
In addition to their reporting on Elian Soto, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli and Maria Torres did note some other organizational news on Monday, writing that Joe Dillon, one-time assistant hitting coach in D.C., who left to become the hitting coach with the Phillies, before he was let go this winter, and the Nats’ hitting coach for the last four years, Kevin “Launch Angle” Long, left D.C. for Philadelphia in October, is back with the Nationals as the minor league hitting coordinator.
The Athletic writers also reported that the, “Nationals have hired a trio of special assistants to the GM in Willie Fraser, Mike Pagliarulo, and Greg Hunter, who will evaluate major- and minor-league players as well as special assignments,” while also confirming, as reported by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty as well, the addition of Michael Schatz, “... as the organization’s lead research and development analyst.”
No More Nolin:
Sean Nolin, 32, returned to the majors this past season for the first time since 2015, and the lefty who put up a 4.39 ERA, a 5.31 FIP, 13 walks, and 20 Ks in 10 games, five starts, and 26 2⁄3 innings pitched, reportedly signed a minor league deal to remain in the organization this winter, but has since opted to accept what is said to be a guaranteed $600K deal, which is believed to include, “an additional $300,000 in incentives,” he could earn according to Mark Zuckerman at MASN, with the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).
Nolin made eight appearances and seven starts for the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s between 2013-18, and before he signed with the Nationals last winter he pitched in Japan in 2020.