Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira spent a few minutes this afternoon providing additional information on today's international acquisitions.
Earlier today, the club announced that it purchased first baseman Carlos Diaz, 17, from the Mexico City Red Devils and signed third baseman Jomar Reyes, 16, a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Both players will report to the Gulf Coast League team.
Ferreira said three other teams were interested in Diaz and "at least a half dozen" were interested in Reyes. The Orioles won't reveal the amount of the signing bonuses, but Ferreira described them as "substantial."
Diaz just turned 17 on Dec. 16. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.
"You can see from his size and age that he has a lot of good qualities to begin a pro career," Duquette said.
"I think Fred has hit on two potential everyday major league players who can hit in the middle of the lineup. We've been developing pitching through the minor league system and these are two signings of two top quality position player prospects to add to the position player depth of our minor league system."
"These two kids are pretty exciting," Ferreira said. "Diaz puts on quite a show in any kind of batting practice and then he puts it in game situations. He's not just a workout player. The kid can project a high ceiling. He's got good actions around the first base bag. He's a legitimate first baseman. He's not going to be any kind of outfielder or at any other position. He's just a solid player with a big future ahead of him.
"Reyes is another very exciting player. I keep saying 'very' because I truly mean this. They're very exciting and I'm glad to get the great cooperation from Dan to get this thing done and get both of them signed. They were very much sought by other clubs. Both players."
Reyes will stay at third base for now.
"Jomar has great actions great actions, great lateral movement around third base," Ferreira said. "He's shown exceptional bat-power basically to all fields and he's a very exciting player. I'm very, very satisfied with these two signings."
Ferreira compared Diaz to Kendrys Morales because of his "mannerisms," and Reyes to Clete Boyer.
"His actions at third base, his lateral movement and hands and range, he's a picture of Clete Boyer," Ferreira said.
The Orioles made an outright purchase of Diaz's contract from Mexico City, with money going to the Red Devils. Diaz received a portion of the cash as his signing bonus.
Duquette confirmed that both players were signed from the international amateur pool, but the Orioles "still have some money available to sign some other players."
"Only a portion of Diaz counts against our bonuses because a portion of the acquisition cost went directly to the team," he added. "But we have additional funds available."
Diaz is a native of Ensenada, Baja California in Mexico, but his grandfather is from Cuba.
Ferreira said it's become much easier to verify the ages of international players.
"More so than ever because investigations are done on every signing and that takes place prior to approval of the contract," he said. "In the past, it wasn't done that way."
Duquette also noted during today's conference call that, while draft picks are important, "having aggressive international scouting is also an important component to building depth for our ballclub.
"Fred does a great job identifying talent and acquiring the valuable contracts of the club. Fred is a value-based investment adviser and he does a nice job in identifying talent early and making a deal that makes economic sense for the team."