You thought the Los Angeles Dodgers were done signing international stars this offseason? Well, they're not done now, and they're probably not done for a few years, so get used to LA exploring far and wide in free agency.
On Monday, the 2024 International Free Agency signing period opened and the Dodgers had a $5.925 million budget to work with. They ended up walking away with six prospects, one of which was ranked in MLB's Top 50 for this year's international class.
That happened to be 17-year-old shortstop Emil Morales (No. 14) out of the Dominican Republic. But, per MLB.com, he has the ability to play any position on the field, thanks to his athleticism, arm strength and baseball IQ, and profiles as a future middle-of-the-order bat.
Morales headlined the Dodgers' 2024 class, which also featured two other shortstops, two outfielders and a pitcher.
Last year, the Dodgers also spent the most money on a shortstop when they gave Joendry Vargas a $2 million bonus.
Dodgers sign top shortstop on international free agent market (and land 5 others)
Morales is the seventh-ranked shortstop in this class, but international scouting is as unpredictable as it gets in the sport. There's no telling how these players will pan out because there's so little information on them.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers have had success in this market, previously signing Pedro Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Fernando Valenzuela, Kenley Jansen, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Santana and Raul Mondesi, among others. Their most recent notable addition was Diego Cartaya in 2018, but he's yet to pan out.
Whatever the result, this further bolsters an already stacked Dodgers farm system, which welcomed newcomers Jackson Ferris and Zyhir Hope in last week's trade with the Chicago Cubs.
It'll be quite some time before we hear any worthwhile updates on this batch of additions, but we can at least trust Andrew Friedman to increase their value in future trade talks, if anything.