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Elephant Rumblings: A’s to sign two international prospects

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Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

The A’s continue to be active in the international market, having agreed to deals yesterday with two players on the Top 50 International Prospects list. These include right handed starting pitcher Luis Morales (#5) from Cuba, who is the top international pitching prospect, and outfielder Darling Fernandez (#40) from the Dominican Republic.

According to Jesse Sanchez at, 20-year-old Morales projects to be a top-of rotation-starter, with a fastball sitting in the mid-90s and a wide menu of developing secondary pitches. He recorded a record-setting 161 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings in U-18 play through 2019 and 2020. 17-year-old Fernandez is a left-handed hitting outfielder with plus hitting potential and developing power.

In addition to making waves with these international acquisitions, the A’s made deals with all three of the team’s arbitration-eligible players, per Martin Gallegos.

Ramón Laureano, Tony Kemp, and Paul Blackburn all agreed to one year deals with the A’s, who need to hang on to as much affordable big league talent as possible. Laureano ($3.550 million) hasn’t played especially well since his 2021 PED suspension, but could be valuable if he gets his career back on track. Kemp ($3.725 million), is a consummate team player who had a fantastic second half last season. Blackburn ($1.9 million) was the A’s sole representative at the All-Star Game last season.

All in all, that’s a lot better than a year of Billy Butler if you ask me, and I’m especially happy to see Kemp coming back. Not a bad weekend for the A’s front office. Have a wonderful week, AN!

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