Adelyn Santa was the Tigers’ most expensive international signing in 2011, but he is no longer with the organization and never played in an official game for the team.
Santa, a third baseman from the Dominican Republic, officially signed with the Tigers for $750,000 last year on July 3, the day after the 2011 international signing period opened. Two months later, Major League Baseball approved his contract.
Yet on June 26, the Tigers released Santa. The reasons for his release are unknown. A Tigers official declined to comment, other than to say that Santa had requested his release. Kim Ng, who is Major League Baseball’s senior vice president in charge of international baseball operations, declined to comment on Santa’s background investigation, but said that the league has no pending disciplinary action against Santa, a 17-year-old born June 1, 1995. Baseball America could not verify whether Santa was ever paid his bonus.
As an amateur, Santa trained with Javier Rodriguez, who also had worked with Mariners shortstop Carlos Triunfel and his little brother, Rangers shortstop Alberto Triunfel, before they signed. Domingo Ramos also worked with Santa, according to a source.
Santa, who is 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, drew attention for his righthanded power and arm strength. While Santa showed power in batting practice, scouts from other teams had concerns about whether he would hit in games and whether his heavy feet and physically mature frame would allow him to stay at third base.
If another team chooses to sign Santa, his bonus will not count against that team’s international bonus pool for the year. While every team is limited to a $2.9 million bonus pool for the 2012-13 international signing period, any player “who previously contracted with a major or minor league club,” according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, will not count against a team’s pool space, since that player is no longer signing a first-year player contract.
For players who were suspended due to issues with their age, identity or drug tests, MLB has said that they will not be exempt because their contracts were never officially consummated. However, Santa’s case did receive MLB’s official approval, so Ng said his potential future bonus will not count against the pool unless the league determines he was released in an attempt to circumvent the pool.
Santa’s older brother, 20-year-old Johan Santa, spent two years with the Rangers in the Dominican Summer League in 2009 and 2010 before getting released. After a year away from pro ball, he signed with the Royals on May 31 and has been playing shortstop and second base for their DSL team this season.