Despite the fact that baseball remains in a lockout, the international free agent signing period is set to begin on January 15 and the SF Giants gained clarity on that process on Tuesday.
SF Giants IFA bonus pool for 2021 - 2022 set
Ben Badler of Baseball America released the available spending for each team with the Giants slated to have a bonus pool of approximately $5.2 million for the upcoming signing period. The bonus pool is a product of market size and whether a team signed a player who rejected a qualifying offer in the prior offseason.
Given this, the Giants have one of the lower spending pools along with other large markets such as the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros. Nevertheless, San Francisco already knows how some of that money is going to be spent as they have been connected to a switch-hitting shortstop named Ryan Reckley out of the Bahamas. The young shortstop is projected to earn a $2 million signing bonus.
Reckley is one of the top prospects in this year's cycle, ranking as the No. 9 prospect according to MLB.Com. MLB.Com believes that he has the tools to become an impact hitter in a few years:
"If all goes according to plan, Reckley will join the prestigious list in a few years. Reckley is a plus athlete that has an excellent feel for hitting and an understanding of the strike zone. He’s a disciplined hitter and will continue to improve in that area as he develops. Specifically, he uses a short and compact swing with above- average bat speed to make hard contact"
The Giants have been connected to the 17-year-old prospect for over a year now and that is not uncommon. In many cases, the team and player will come to a handshake agreement well in advance of the signing and that appears to be the case with the Giants and Reckley. On January 15, the window will be open for the Giants to complete the deal.
San Francisco has been oddly quiet in in recent international signing cycles. Given how much projection is needed for 16-year-old prospects, some teams target the middle of the market, whereas others pursue high-end talent. Either approach has its successes and failures.
During the 2018-2019 J2 signing period, the Giants sought the high-end talent as they reeled in Marco Luciano, Luis Matos, and Jairo Pomares. In the ensuing two years, they pursued more of the middle of the market as they brought in Esmerlin Vinicio (2019 - 2020) and Diego Velasquez (2020 - 2021).
Since there is limited baseball news due to the lockout, the beginning of this signing period will be an especially exciting time for the Giants. They boast one of the better farm systems in baseball and they will inject a lot more talent in the near future.