The Cubs have signed Dominican righthander Jefferson Mejia for $850,000.
Mejia, 18, would have been eligible to sign last year, but Major League Baseball had an issue with his paperwork and declared him ineligible to sign until April. However, with teams mostly out of space remaining from their $2.9 million bonus pools from the 2012-13 signing period, it’s not surprising that Mejia waited until the beginning of the 2013-14 signing period to officially sign his contract. Mejia is now using an Aug. 2, 1994 date of birth.
Mejia was 6-foot-7, 190 pounds last year and was sitting in the high-80s fastball at the time, but now he’s listed at 220 pounds (although that might be a light estimate) and his fastball has jumped along with the increase in weight. While he was ineligible to sign, Mejia pitched at the Rays’ Dominican academy in January in the International Prospect League all-star game, where he showed a 90-93 mph fastball, a swing-and-miss changeup along with a solid curveball in the mid-70s. His athleticism also improved along with his strength, which helped him get in better sync with his delivery.
Unlike other July 2 signings, who sign contracts for the the 2014 season, Mejia can begin playing immediately. However, given the problems he had with his MLB investigation last year, there’s no way to guarantee he will be approved in time to pitch this season.