Padres Make Splash On July 2

After Michel Inoa, the biggest buzz in Latin America leading up to the beginning of the July 2 international signing period was that the Padres were prepared to spend heavily.

Today, the buzz proved to be correct.

The Padres, who in April opened a new state-of-the-art Dominican academy, announced today that they have signed Venezuelan righthander Adis Portillo, Dominican shortstop Alvaro Aristy, Venezuelan outfielder Luis Domoromo, Dominican righthander Elvin Tavarez and Australian infielder/outfielder Corey Adamson. The signings come one year after the Padres, in their first significant foray into Latin America, handed out six-figure bonuses to a pair of Dominicans, shortstop Jonathan Galvez (Spraut) and outfielder Rymer Liriano.

The Padres had strongly been linked to Portillo, Aristy and Domoromo. International sources have told Baseball America that Portillo, the consensus No. 2 arm available this year after Inoa, likely has signed for a bonus of at least $1.8 million, possibly surpassing the $2 million mark. The Padres did not announce the terms of any bonuses. International scouts said the Phillies were also in heavy pursuit of Portillo.

“One of the most complete pitchers in Latin America with a fastball that has reached 93 (mph), Adis has great mechanics with a strong mound presence and command of three pitches,” said Randy Smith, the Padres director of professional and international scouting.

International scouts believed that the Padres would sign Domoromo for a $1.2 million bonus. Domoromo is a power-hitting outfielder who Smith said “has a sound approach at the plate.”

Aristy, a shortstop who receives more praise for his glove than his bat, was believed to have signed for $1 million.

“We see Alvaro as the best pure shortstop in Latin America, both with his defensive ability along with his consistency at the plate,” Smith said.

Tavarez, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound 16-year-old from San Pedro de Macoris, was another prospect on international scouts’ radars this year.

“Elvin is a well-built righthander with a fastball that reaches 90 and a good rotation on his curveball,” Smith said.

Adamson is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound 16-year-old played in Major League Baseball’s Australian Baseball Academy. One international source reached today said he believed Adamson would sign for a mid six-figure bonus.

“Corey is one of the best athletes to come out of Australia in recent history,” Smith said. “He is a five-tool player with plus speed."