Braves Sign Aussie For Six-Figure Bonus

By John Manuel
July 14, 2005

Steve Kent wanted to pitch in the major leagues badly enough that he paid his own way to pitch for Braves officials at Turner Field.

Now it's the Braves who are paying Kent. They signed the Australian lefthander from the capital city of Canberra for a reported $280,000, according to the Canberra Times. Kent is a member of his country's junior national team and was in San Diego with his team this spring when he flew to Atlanta to work out for Braves officials.

"He's got a chance to throw three pitches for strikes," Braves farm director Dayton Moore said. "He showed some desire and maturity with his workout for us."

The Braves' biggest international signing came in January when they added Venezuelan shortstop Elvis Andrus, who will be 17 in August. Andrus is off to a .298-0-10 start in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

"We gave (Andy) Marte some money, and we gave Andrus some money in January," Moore said. "When you do that in the international market, there's a balance of tools and their maturity. They have to show some poise and presence. You don't want to project too much. A scout once told me, 'Project-project-project will get you fired-fired-fired.'"