The most heralded Latin American prospect in recent years, Miguel Angel Sano, has come to terms with the Minnesota Twins for a $3.15 million signing bonus.
The signing bonus would be the highest paid to a Latin American position player outside of Cuba, and second only to the $4.25 million the Oakland Athletics paid lefthander Michel Ynoa last year. The bonus would be slightly more than the Twins spent on 70 international prospects from 2006-08 combined, according to a database maintained by SI.
The signing presumably marks the end of a nearly three-month ordeal for Sano. He was expected to sign on July 2, the first day Latin American prospects who are 16 years old by Aug. 31 of that year are eligible to sign. But Sano's 6-3, 190-pound build, prodigious power at the plate, and San Pedro de Macoris birthplace -- a hotbed of baseball-related document fraud -- made some teams skittish about spending the millions of dollars necessary to sign him.
Those fears were exacerbated when a standard MLB age investigation concluded that Sano's age was, "undetermined," a ruling that threatened to diminish his market value. The family, however, fumed while citing multiple bone scans and DNA tests which they say supports their claim that Sano is indeed 16 years old, the preferred age at which Latin American prospects are signed.
His high profile has placed privacy concerns, MLB's use of DNA testing, and the process by which prospects are investigated in the spotlight.
Sano, for his part, is simply relieved. When reached by SI.com at his home, he expressed joy at the news. "I'm very happy," he said, noting that fellow Dominican Alexi Casilla is his favorite Twin.
There is as much as a 90-day period before Major League Baseball will issue a final approval on the contract.