Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — The Braves signed highly regarded Dominican shortstop prospect Edward Salcedo to a free-agent contract that includes a $1.6 million signing bonus.
The Braves viewed him as the equivalent of a high first-round draft choice, and think Salcedo could become either their shortstop or third baseman in a few years.
“This is a significant signing for us,” said Johnny Almaraz, Braves director of international scouting. “We feel that Edward is one of this year’s most talented prospects.
“He has outstanding makeup, and the combination of his fielding and hitting ability make him one of the of the top international players we’ve seen in a while.”
Salcedo is rated as a strong defensive player and a better hitter, with a line-drive swing and good power potential. He’s more advanced than most 18-year-old draft picks, and will likely play shortstop at Class-A Rome.
Several other teams had pursued him in recent months including the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reportedly offered $1 million.
He’s been the focus of international scouts — and the subject of some controversy — for the past few years. Salcedo was expected to sign with Cleveland in 2007 for more than $2 million, but the deal fell apart because of questions about whether he was old enough (16) to sign with a major league organization. As it turned out, he was not.
Major League Baseball conducted an investigation at the Braves’ request, and determined recently that Salcedo is legimately 18 years old now.
He’s about 6-3 and 190 pounds, wiry strong and athletic.
The Braves lost their first-round pick in the June 2010 draft as compensation to Boston when they signed free-agent closer Billy Wagner. The signing of Salcedo, in their view, effectively replaces that pick.