It went down to the wire, but when midnight ET struck and moved Friday into Saturday, first-round Draft pick Yonder Alonso was signed and sealed as a member of the Reds.
After they were seemingly far apart most of the day, a deal was reached shortly before the looming deadline. Terms were not revealed, but Alonso signed a Major League contract through 2012 that is believed to be worth $4.5 million, plus incentives.
By signing the 22-year-old Alonso to a Major League deal, the Reds have to place the first baseman on their 40-man roster. But that was a lesser concern for the club during negotiations.
“One, we think he’ll be here quickly,” Reds assistant GM Bob Miller said. “It’s not like we’re worried about the [Minor League] options. The other issue is we have a lot of free agents and have some room. If it would have been a really tight roster, it would have been much more difficult.”
An obvious question surrounds where Alonso will play once he reaches the Majors. The Reds already have a young rookie first baseman in Joey Votto.
“He played first most of the time at Miami, but Miami had a good third baseman,” Buckley said. “We think he can play third base. He can definitely play first. He may be able to play third.”
So, they got the deal done…but was it overpaying for a first baseman?
UPDATE (from Chad): Alonso wasn’t the only signing yesterday:
Center fielder Yorman Rodriguez, a 16-year-old from Venezuela, was signed to a contract. Considered a five-tool player, his birthday was on Friday. The youngest a foreign player can sign a contract is 16.
“He might be the top position prospect in all of Latin America,” Reds scouting director Chris Buckley said.
The Reds major league roster is a complete mess, but at least they are making a splash in Latin America.