Top 5 International Signings In MLB History


Today is International Signing Day in MLB, the day that major league teams can sign the best of the best from international free agents around the world. There is a cap on how much each team can spend, and most of the big dollars are spent today. 

We told you yesterday about the impending signing by the Chicago White Sox of the man once known as the "Cuban Ohtani". Today, the rest of the top international talent will likely be scooped up. 

There have been some all-time MLB greats signed on this day (and throughout the international signing period) over the years. With that in mind, let's have a look at the top 5 international signings in major league history. 

Roberto Clemente, 1954, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yes, it was actually the Dodgers that signed the legendary Hall of Famer out of Puerto Rico. He got a $10,000 signing bonus. But when LA tried to sneak him through the Rule 5 Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed him immediately. The rest is history. 

Mariano Rivera, 1990, New York Yankees 

Yeah, this one worked out pretty well for the Yankees. All it cost them for this kid out of Panama was a $2,500 signing bonus, and they had secured themselves the eventual all-time MLB saves leader, and the first unanimous Baseball Hall of Fame selection. 

Ferguson Jenkins, 1962, Chicago Cubs

In 1962, Canada was still considered an "international" locale in major league baseball, as the Montreal Expos (1969) and Toronto Blue Jays (1977) were still years away from joining MLB. Jenkins posted over 3,000 strikeouts and 284 wins, on his way to the Hall of Fame in 1991. 

Vladimir Guerrero, 1993, Montreal Expos

Out of the Dominican Republic, and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, Vlad Jr.'s dad played 16 years and was a 9-time All-Star, and MVP in 2004.

Miguel Cabrera, 1999, Florida/Miami Marlins

The future Hall of Famer was only 16 when the Marlins signed him out of Venezuela for a sum of $1.9M. He was called up in  2003 at the age of 20, and merely helped lead the team to a World Series championship. Of course, he's still playing (with the Detroit Tigers), nearly 20 years later, and with a .310 career average, 502 home runs and a few hits shy of 3,000, he will go down as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. 

A lot of honorable mentions here, and it could be debated endlessly which of these belong ahead of the others, but a shout out goes to: Tony Perez, Juan Marichal, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, Luis Aparicio, Dennis Martinez, Larry Walker, Carlos Delgado, and some from the current generation including Juan Soto, Xander Boegarts, Rafael Devers, Jose Altuve, and Shohei Ohtani.