Historically, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the most proactive teams in terms of signing international talent. Players like Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo paved the way for other foreign players to find a spot in Los Angeles. Some of that had been lost under former owner Frank McCourt, but now the team is once again making moves in other countries.
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti discussed how Puig has helped the team sign more international players:
The way it works down there, [amateur] players come to tryouts at your camp, and we had a hard time getting players to come to the academy [in the Dominican Republic] until we signed Puig, Colletti said. I was down there about three weeks ago or so, and it was probably the best group of players that I’ve seen. A lot of it has to do with our ability to spend, and we’ve increased our scouting internationally three-fold from where it was. We have the finances to be competitive with players from Cuba and amateurs in other countries. Puig was a very key sign for us in more ways than just his talent.
Once the Dodgers signed Puig to the seven-year, $42 million deal, it let the other players know that the team is once again serious about signing international talent. Since that deal, the Dodgers have signed left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu out of Korea, Alex Guerrero and Erismel Arruebarruena from Cuba, among other smaller signings.
In 2013, the Dodgers spent the third-most money internationally after ranking dead last in the major leagues under McCourt in 2011. The team has taken a liking to players from Cuba because they’re usually exempt from the international spending limits placed on teams and come better prepared for the big leagues.
It may be a few years before we begin to see the full rewards from all the international talent, but the Dodgers already have one of the greatest rewards in Puig.
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