Dominican center fielder Leonardo Molina, the No. 5 international prospect for July 2, has signed with the Yankees for $1.4 million.
Molina, who became eligible to sign today on his 16th birthday, is 6-foot-2, 165 pounds with outstanding speed and is the best athlete in this year’s international signing class. He’s a righthanded hitter with good bat speed who played in the Dominican Prospect League and trained with Decarte Corporan. Molina is a cousin of Blue Jays 17-year-old shortstop Richard Urena, who ranked as the No. 13 international prospect last year, signed for $725,000 and is hitting .290/.379/.420 in the Dominican Summer League.
On July 2, the Yankees also signed Dominican shortstop Yonauris Rodriguez, a defensive-oriented prospect who also played in the DPL, for $550,000. Between Molina and Rodriguez, the Yankees have spent $1.95 million on international free agents. With an international bonus pool of $1,877,900, the Yankees are over their pool by $72,100, or 3.8 percent. That means the Yankees will have to pay a 75 percent tax on their pool overage (a $54,075 payment, as of today), but they won’t face any signing restrictions for the following signing period unless they go five percent beyond their bonus pool. Each team also gets six signings of $50,000 or less that are exempt from its bonus pool and unlimited exempt signings of $10,000 or less.