While the Cardinals took Friday off from team activities, the front office was busy continuing to leverage the international market for talent acquisition.
The team announced Friday evening they signed soon-to-be 24-year-old Cuban Jose Adolis Garcia to a minor league contract with an invite to the club’s major league spring training camp.
Garcia, the younger brother of Atlanta third baseman Adonis Garcia, is a speedy outfield prospect with an intriguing bat. The Ciego de Avila native hit .315 with an OPS of .912 last season, which earned him MVP honors in Cuba’s top professional league.
His previous team, Tigres de Ciego de Avila, won back-to-back league titles the last two seasons with Garcia as their top player.
His deal with the Cardinals is reportedly worth $2.5 million and he’ll likely be in camp within 48 hours. It's notable Garcia signed a minor league deal, as opposed to fellow Cuban Aledmys Diaz, who received $8 million and was signed to the 40-man roster.
It's unclear whether Garcia has a ceiling beyond being depth for the organization in the outfield (elite stats in international leagues rarely, if ever make a one-to-one transfer to the MLB), but the $2.5 million commitment is not insignificant, especially within the context of international signings.
At that figure, he's making just slightly less than what Chris Carter, a seven-year MLB veteran who hit 41 homers last year, is making with the Yankees.
Given the investment, the Cardinals likely believe he has potential to reach the majors, albeit after an adjustment period to the elevated play.
GM John Mozeliak will speak on the signing to media members Saturday before the team’s opening spring training game.
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