FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins are preparing to spend as much as $4 million to land one of the top Latin American prospects this year.
Wander Javier, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic with some power potential, is in the Twins' crosshairs, according to sources with knowledge of their interest. The international signing window doesn't open until July 2, when teams can ink players who have turned 16 by then. If the bonus does rise to $4 million, it would set a club record for the largest bonus awarded to an international prospect, surpassing the $3.15 million the Twins signed Miguel Sano for in 2009.
Signing Javier for that much would require some maneuvering, however.
The Twins have the fifth-largest international signing bonus pool this year, but it is only $3,948,500 — $51,500 shy of the $4 million it's expected to cost to land Javier. The Twins would have to pay a 100 percent tax on the $51,500 overage, but since it's less than 5 percent over their cap they won't face further penalties.
So the Twins could simply accept the penalty to sign Javier and move on. But they also could trade for allocation money and avoid the tax. They also might decide to trade for much more than $51,500 so they can sign more players. Indications are that the Twins are considering all options. This international class is considered a strong one, and the Twins could make moves to go after more players than Javier.
The Twins haven't spent more than $1 million on an international player since 2013, when they signed Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz for $1.4 million.
La VELLE E. NEAL III