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Elephant Rumblings: A’s front runner for Luis Morales

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WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup: Panama v Cuba Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images

It’s the weekend, Athletics Nation!

Yesterday, 19-year-old Cuban pitcher Luis Morales was instated as a free agent by MLB after defecting. This means that teams are free to court him using their international bonus pool money, and sign Morales for the 2023 season and beyond.

The A’s being the name most attached to Morales is only somewhat surprising. According to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, Morales is set to command the highest bonus for a pitcher since spending was initially capped with the bonus pool system. The Oakland A’s look to continue taking advantage of the international market, following the early 2012 signing of fellow Cuban, Yoenis Cespedes, and 2008’s record payout to Michael Ynoa. McDaniel notes that the true courtship for Morales will likely be put aside until January 15 2023, when the bonus spending pools refresh.

In 2022, the A’s are members of the $5,179,700 pool, along with 13 other teams. Much of their pool money would then be set to be sent Morales’ way, compared to teams like the Royals and Pirates in the richest pool with over $6M to spend.

Morales has been playing with the U-23 Cuban National team and appeared in 11 games for the Gallos de Sancti Spiritus of the Cuban National Series in 2021 with 58 strikeouts over 42.1 innings. If the A’s do pull off signing Morales, we will have a great opportunity to get a better look when he would hit the A’s farm next year.

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