HOUSTON (AP) - The Astros have agreed to a minor league contract with 20-year-old Cuban right-hander Elian Rodriguez that includes a $1.9 million signing bonus.
The deal was announced Thursday, the last day of the 2016-17 signing period. The deal raises Houston's international signing bonus total to $10,757,500, well above its $2,197,000 signing bonus pool, and the Astros will incur a tax of $8,560,500.
Houston said Rodriguez has a 92-97 mph fastball and two power breaking pitches. His bonus is payable within 30 days of the deal's approval by the commissioner's office and is contingent upon his obtaining a U.S. work visa.
In the international signing period that opens July 2, Houston's bonuses will be capped at $5.75 million, not including bonuses of $10,000 or less, as part of baseball's new labor contract. In addition, as a penalty for their total this year, the Astros may not give an international amateur a signing bonus of more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.
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