Righthander Andres Serrano's $750,000 bonus deal with the Cardinals would have been the biggest deal for a Dominican amateur pitcher signed last year, but Major League Baseball has terminated his contract, according to multiple sources.
Serrano, who signed with the Cardinals in October, failed both the age and identity sections of his investigation, according to a league source. Serrano had signed using a May 29, 1994 date of birth, which would have made him 17 at the time of his signing and 18 now. Baseball America could not verify whether the league had made a determination about Serrano's true age or identity.
The league has also declared Serrano, who trained with Maximo Grullon and worked with David Toribio, ineligible to sign for one year. Serrano's disciplinary action will end on June 26, 2013, but unless he can get his penalty reduced, the first date upon which Serrano can truly sign will be July 2, 2013.
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the window between June 16 through July 1 is a "closed period," during which teams are not allowed to sign any international players. Since Serrano's penalty ends during the closed period, he will have to wait until next July 2 to sign, which will prevent him from signing during the 2012-13 signing period and force him into the 2013-14 signing period.
That timing may ultimately have an impact on where he signs, since unlike this year when every team has a $2.9 million bonus pool (and some teams have already spent most or almost all of it), next year's bonus pools will be tiered based on reverse order of 2012 winning percentage.
Serrano, who would have been the top international signing for the Cardinals last year, is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with long arms, good athleticism and a 90-95 mph fastball. He has also flashed a plus curveball and a changeup that is still in its early stages, though he throws it with good arm speed.
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