The Mets have done well for themselves in the international market in recent years. Ronny Mauricio, ranked the Mets’ top prospect for 2020 by Amazin’ Avenue, was signed by the Mets out of the Dominican Republic during the 2017-18 international signing period for a $2.1 million signing bonus. Andres Gimenez, their second-best prospect, was signed out of Venezuela during the 2015-2016 international free agent signing period for just north of $1 million. Francisco Alvarez, their sixth-best prospect, was signed out of Venezuela during the 2018-2019 international free agent signing period for a club-high $2.7 million. Shervyen Newton, their tenth-best prospect, was signed out of Curaçao during the 2015-16 international free agent signing period for just $50,000. Other prospects scouted and signed by the Mets in recent years include Junior Santos, Freddy Valdez, Daison Acosta, Adrian Hernandez, Dedniel Nunez, Stanley Consuegra, Alexander Ramirez, and a variety of talented players who went unranked for the 2020 season.
According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Mets will not be signing any international rookies identified in their Top 25 list. According to his sources, the Oakland Athletics have an agreement with Pedro Pineda, a center fielder from the Dominican Republic who is considered the most talented rookie available in the 2020-21 international signing period. Oakland made a splash last season as well, spending $5.1 million to sign Dominican shortstop Robert Puason.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the cessation of baseball and scouting activities will not have much of an impact on this process. International players are identified and followed by teams for years before their contract signing thanks to a complex—and often corrupt—system involving trainers, buscones, and scouts representing professional organizations. As early as thirteen or fourteen, players can commit to the teams watching them, entering into unofficial agreements in which they stop working out in public for other teams and are informally members of the professional club.
As is always the case, nothing is set in stone until contracts when the 2020-2021 international signing period begins on July 2. While most agreements between teams and players have already been worked out, they are informal, handshake agreements and can be altered at any point- generally at the detriment of the player.