The Angels struck a deal Tuesday with 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, a onetime top prospect declared a free agent last month by Major League Baseball.
Maitan was considered the best player available in the 2016-2017 international class, and he received a $4.25-million bonus to sign with the Atlanta Braves in July 2016. That agreement was nullified when the Braves were found to have circumvented league rules in how they doled out bonuses to teenage prospects, including by bundling. Their general manager, John Coppolella, received a lifetime ban from baseball.
In 2017, Maitan depressed his value by hitting only .241 over 42 low-level minor league games. Still, he represents an injection of talent into an Angels’ farm system that has long lacked potential-filled prospects.
The size of Maitan’s latest signing bonus is not yet clear, though MLB.com reported a $2.2-million figure, which would require the Angels to dip into their international bonus pool for next season. They have only about $1.3 million in funds left for this international signing period, and they are hoping to give those dollars to Japanese pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani is meeting with the Angels and six other major league teams this week. He must make a decision on his destination this month.
Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura