Dodgers sign Mexican 1B Eric Meza, Venezuelan C Keibert Ruiz

The Dodgers may have found the next Adrian Gonzalez. Well, not really. But they did sign Mexican first baseman in Eric Meza. They did so late on July 2, which is why he wasn’t in the first post about July 2 prospects.

Meza’s bonus amount is unknown. Odds are, it wasn’t a significant amount of money and shouldn’t really have an impact on the Dodgers signing pool.

Meza is a big-bodied first baseman with the frame to be a power-hitter. In the short video I found, he has an extreme leg kick (look at the ‘cap) that comes after a noisy stance. He loads up a lot on his back leg with the kick and is able to clear his hips as he brings the bat through the zone.

He probably won’t make much noise in the next couple years, but it’ll be interesting to follow his career path and see if he develops into something, especially with the power potential.

And this signing shouldn’t do much to derail Julian Leon, but the Dodgers on Sunday signed 16-year-old Venezuelan catcher Keibert Ruiz to a $140,000 bonus.

The switch-hitting catcher wasn’t eligible to sign until his birthday, which was Sunday. He’s the youngest player in the Dodgers’ system and you’ll probably not hear his name for a couple of years. He’ll likely spend most of the next 12-18 months at the Dodgers’ complex in the Dominican Republic or Arizona.

From Ben Badler at Baseball America:

“Ruiz is 6 feet, 165 pounds with good catch-and-throw skills, showing an average arm with a clean transfer, along with good hands and footwork behind the plate. Ruiz is a switch-hitter who projects as more of a line-drive bat than a power threat. Ruiz trained with Henderson Martinez.”

Not a ton of other information on him at this point. But the prospect of a switch-hitting catcher with a line-drive swing and what seems to be good footwork is something to keep an eye on.


Here’s a reminder on how the international signing period works.

The international signing period, known as the July 2 period, is the time when teams can sign international prospects not subject to the MLB Draft. Like the draft, there are signing restrictions. There are bonus allotments teams cannot exceed without penalties.

The period runs from July 2 through June 15. The Dodgers have $1,963,800 to spend on bonuses for international prospects. They can acquire more slot money in trades, as they did last year in trades with the Cubs and Marlins. But they cannot acquire more than 50 percent of their original bonus allotment, or $981,900. There probably isn’t that much extra bonus space available in trade anyway. They were able to land $406,700 last year.

Here’s how it works, via the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Overage (percentage) Penalty (taxed amount)
0-4.99 75 percent tax ($73,641.75)
5-9.99 75 percent tax ($147,284.25)
One bonus of more than $500,000
10-14.99 100 percent tax ($294,569)
No bonuses more than $500,000
15-plus 100 percent tax ($294,570+)
No bonuses more than $250,000

And here’s where the Dodgers stand at present.

Player Bonus
Romer Cuadrado $750,000
Felix Osorio $205,000
Keivert Ruiz $140,000
Johan Calderon $130,000
Jefry Souffront $60,000
Leonardo Crawford $47,500
Eric Meza unknown
Total $1,332,500 (of $1,963,800)

The Dodgers have already spent 67.8 percent of their bonus pool allotment. They can acquire more, but the amount couldn’t be applied to these deals. It’s only for future deals. They can go $97,993 over their allotted bonus pool without suffering any consequences (other than taxes). If so, then they have about $729,293 left to spend on July 2 prospects.

More updates to come as they become available.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.