The Orioles are conceding that they won’t be able to sign brothers Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., a harsh blow to an organization that is trying to upgrade its presence in the international market as an important facet of its rebuilding project.
Multiple reports have the Cuban outfielders preparing to sign with the Marlins, who scheduled a press conference for Monday morning that will include chief executive officer and part owner Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill. It’s believed that the brothers already passed their physicals.
Victor Victor Mesa, 22, is the top prospect remaining on the market and graded as having a plus arm and speed with projections of being an elite center fielder. Victor Mesa Jr., 17, also has a high ceiling, though obviously with a longer path to the majors.
Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, citing sources, reports that Victor Victor will receive a bonus exceeding $4 million. His younger brother is expected to receive “close to $1 million,” per a source.
An unknown amount was submitted by the Orioles for Victor Victor at the deadline date.
The Orioles began the month with the most international signing bonus money at approximately $6.5 million, but the Marlins inched past them by consummating three trades. Former executive vice president Dan Duquette acquired $2.5 million at the non-waiver deadline in the Kevin Gausman trade with the Braves and received another $250,000 for reliever Brad Brach.
The Gausman deal also netted third baseman Jean Carlos Encarnacion, pitchers Evan Phillips and Bruce Zimmermann, and catcher Brett Cumberland, and it allowed the Orioles to shed $9 million owed next season to veteran reliever Darren O’Day, but outside evaluators have stated that the international signing bonus money was the most important component.
Though missing out on the brothers, the Orioles remain hopeful of signing pitcher Sandy Gastón, who was included in the Oct. 5 showcase held for all 30 teams at Marlins Park. They had five representatives present - vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, senior advisor Joe McIlvaine, special assignment scout John Stockstill, and scouts Dean Albany and Calvin Maduro - and were impressed by Gastón’s upper-90s fastball, developing secondary stuff and composure.
Failure to bring home Gastón, coupled with the Mesas choosing Miami, would place the Gausman trade under a much harsher light.
The Orioles already signed shortstop Moises Ramirez ($225,000) and outfielders Isaac Bellony ($220,000), Damien Valdez ($200,000) and J’Rudjeanon Isenia ($125,000). The Cuban trio would have been a tremendous coup, but the Marlins played on location and took advantage of the opportunity to host the showcase in reaching agreements with the Mesas.