Detroit Tigers offseason preview: international signing period

Tigers infield prospect Cristian Santana fields grounders during spring training Minor League
Tigers infield prospect Cristian Santana fields grounders during spring training Minor League / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The international signing period begins Sunday, and the Detroit Tigers have already been linked to several free agents

The International Free Agent signing period is upon us. It's something the Detroit Tigers really never took advantage of until recently. They used to just sign a bunch of players to small contracts, but the Avila regime started splurging on international free agents late in its tenure. Tigers prospects Cristian Santana (2021) and Roberto Campos (2019) are the two biggest examples of this.

The 2023 international signing period begins on Sunday, and the Detroit Tugers have been linked to three free agents inside of MLB Pipeline's top 50, which isn't the greatest list, but it's free and readily available. But before we dive into them, let's get into what the international signing period is all about.

The intenational signing period typically begins in the middle of January and runs all the way until Dec. 15. It's where baseball players from outside of the U.S. can be signed by a major league team at a young age and begin playing professional baseball.

Here's more on the international signing period from MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez:

""(A player) must turn 16 before he signs and be 17 before Sept. 1 the following year -- in practical terms, that means players born between Sept. 1, 2005, and Aug. 31, 2006, will be eligible to sign in the upcoming signing period. Players have to be registered with Major League Baseball in advance in order to be eligible to sign.""

Jesse Sanchez, MLB.com

In addition, each team has a set number of money they can use to sign international free agents, known as the bonus pool. This is typically determined by team performance, similar to how the draft order use to be determined. The worse a team is, the more signing money a team gets.

Since the Tigers were bad this year, not only did they get a Competitive Balance Round B pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, but they were also in the group of teams that got the largest of amount of bonus pool money. This year's top amount is $6,366,900.

So that's how the international signing period works. Most of the action happens in the first day or two, while teams can sign international free agents throughout the season and well into the following offseason.

With all that said, let's take a look at what international talent the Detroit Tigers have been linked to.

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