The morning started off with several MLB teams signing international prospects after the 8 am CST start time. The early activity and reports did not include the Chicago Cubs, but as we get closer to lunch time, the news of a pair of signings has come in. The first is the signing of a right hander named Jefferson Mejia. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the deal is for $850,000 for the Dominican pitcher. Mejia will turn 19 this summer, with documentation showing his birth date as August 2, 1994.
Mejia would be a tall presence on the mound at six foot seven inches, and Badler adds that the righty has bulked up from 190 pounds last year to currently being listed at 220 lbs. As Mejia fills in his body frame, the mph on his fastball as also increased, going from the high 80s last year to topping out at 93 mph currently. His other two pitches include a plus change up and a respectable curveball. The Cubs contract offer is reportedly for the 2013 season as opposed to most international prospects receiving 2014 offers during this period. Unless MLB steps in to block Mejia from playing right away due to the previous paperwork issue and investigation, the young right hander would be able to dive into the Cubs farm system right away.
The $850,000 offer is the highest figure reported so far for a right handed pitching prospect, but the Cubs are working with the second highest pool budget at $4,557,200. Considering the Cubs went with third base prospect Kris Bryant in the MLB Draft this past June, it appears the front office is flexing their international spending power to address the lack of starting pitching depth in the system that many experts thought would be addressed in the draft via Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray.