Pirates Prospects is reporting (sub. req’d) that the Pirates have signed Mexican outfield prospect Fabricio Macias. No signing bonus is known yet, but there were several other teams after Macias. The process for signing Mexican amateurs is different from other countries, as the player must first sign with a Mexican team, which then essentially negotiates his bonus with a US team if there’s interest. The Mexican team gets 75% of the bonus. I don’t think that amount counts against the international bonus pool limit. The Pirates probably had somewhere around the mid-six figures left in their pool.
The Pirates in the past year seem to be sharply ramping up their efforts in Mexican, a country they’ve ignored for a long time. Macias appears to be the most significant of the Mexican prospects they’ve targeted for this signing cycle. He’s 19 and has played at a level in Mexico that’s the equivalent of well above rookie ball.
The fact that the Pirates beat out several other teams may or may not show that they’ve dropped their unwillingness to compete with other teams for talent. We don’t know for sure how this signing came about. When they signed Luis Heredia, Rene Gayo was able to use his connection with Heredia’s Mexican team to shut other teams out of the process, which provoked a complaint from the Yankees to MLB. Hopefully, new international scouting director Junior Vizcaino will be willing to start going after top prospects.