Major League Baseball’s 2022-23 international free agent period officially began on Jan. 15, and the SF Giants gave cornerbacks Rainer Arias and Josniker Rivas the two biggest bonuses in their class. A source told Giants Baseball Insider he received a $2.7 million signing bonus. The source also informed Giants Baseball Insider that Rivas received a $1 million bonus. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported first that the Giants signed Arias early Sunday morning, but he reported a $2.8 million bonus.
Reports have linked Arias to the Giants since last summer. A scout for a National League team (not the Giants) told Giants Baseball Insider that they rate Arias offensively. They said Arias has already shown some hitting ability along with legitimate power potential. They compared Arias’ physical projection to Nelson Cruz, which will likely limit him to first base or corner outfield in the future, but also suggests he has a strong frame that should be able to drive the ball consistently.
Arias is the son of a longtime scout named Pablo Arias, and most scouting reports indicate that Arias displays an advanced baseball IQ that reflects his familiarity with the game.
As is common with international prospects, little else is known about Arias. The most impressive video is from a few years ago when he won the televised home run contest when he was 13 years old back in 2019. Watch the video below (note: audio and video do not match).
Even less is known about Rivas. Rivas’ only online video was posted by the Carlos Alfonso Guillen Academy on Facebook and includes highlights from May 2021.
MLB’s international free agent system remains one of the worst aspects of the modern game. Players typically reach verbal agreements with teams years before they are actually eligible to sign. Generally, players stop playing the showcase when they have these agreements. The system encourages kids throughout the Dominican Republic and other baseball havens in Latin America to drop out of school and enroll in intensive baseball academies. While the system is far from ideal for those who receive large bonuses, the vast majority of teenagers never get signed or receive small signing bonuses. The US Department of Justice has investigated the practices of several international free agency teams.
Because so little is known about the abilities of Rainer Arias and Yosniker Rivas at this point, neither will likely rank on the SF Giants’ prospect lists until player evaluators and scouts see them in action during spring training and this minor league season. , where they are likely to appear. their professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. It’s clear the Giants believe both players have the potential to be top prospects, and time will tell if they can live up to those expectations.