Cardinals Zero In On Mateo

Despite an economic recession, bonus records will fall when the international signing period begins on July 2.

The latest buzz in Latin America is that the Cardinals are expected to sign 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo for a bonus of approximately $3 million on July 2.

A $3 million bonus would be the second-biggest bonus ever given to an amateur international player from Latin America, and the largest bonus ever for a Latin American hitter. Oakland righthander Michael Ynoa set the all-time bonus record last year with a $4.25 million bonus on July 2, while Rafael Rodriguez set the record for a position player last year by signing for $2.55 million with the Giants. Mateo is represented by Edgar Mercedes, who also trained Ynoa last year at his Born To Play Baseball Academy.

Mateo likely won't be the only hitter who will break Rodriguez's positional player bonus record this year. Dominican catcher Gary Sanchez has been linked to the Yankees for a bonus of around $3 million, while Dominican shortstop Miguel Sano is expected to be the highest-paid player from Latin America this summer.

More on Mateo is available here for Baseball America subscribers.