Cubs sign 16-year-old from Dominican Republic

The Cubs reportedly are getting the man they wanted the most from Latin America: 16-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez from the Dominican Republic.

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweeted Tuesday night that Jimenez has elected to sign with the Cubs even though an unnamed team offered him more. Theo Epstein & Co. were clearly sweating out the Jimenez situation Tuesday, when they agreed to sign Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million and pitchers Jefferson Mejia and Erling Moreno for a combined $1.65 million.

That would have made it impossible to also land Jimenez without losing picks in future seasons had they not found a way to add almost $1 million in additional cap space, with most coming in a deal that sent Double-A second baseman Ronald Torreyes to Houston.

Even with the extra space, the Cubs had only a little more than $2 million left after their first three signings, and Jimenez reportedly was seeking upwards of $2.6 million. It’s unclear how much the Cubs have offered Jimenez, and Sanchez’s report said only that the deal would be announced in the next few days.

Torreyes, 20, is an advanced prospect compared to players from the international signing period, most of whom are 16. He has held his own despite being one of the youngest players in the Southern League, hitting .260 with two homers and 25 RBIs.

Torreyes was acquired from the Reds along with Travis Wood and Dave Sappelt in the Sean Marshall trade. The Cubs love how his approach and hand-eye coordination allow him to get the barrel of the bat on good pitches but aren’t sure if he will gain the strength needed to have a long big-league career.  He’s listed at 5-9, 140 pounds and efforts to help him add weight and muscle have not yielded the desired benefits.

Jimenez is 6-4, 200 pounds and is very athletic. He competed nationally in karate while also playing basketball before committing to baseball. He has a sound approach as a hitter and above average speed.

Chicago Tribune Reporting

progers@tribune.com

Twitter@ChiTribRogers

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