July 2nd brings international signing day, where teams compete in order to sign the biggest and most talented free agents in the international community. Some teams make trades in order to acquire more money to spend for this free agent period.
The Braves did just that, making three different trades yesterday to gain an additional $1.1 million in international signing money for the 2015 season. They traded Cody Martin to the Oakland A's for the 53rd international signing slot, worth $388,400.
Later on they sent minor leaguers Jordan Paroubeck and Caleb Dirks to the Dodgers in return for $637,400 of international signing money. But the biggest trade of the Braves' day was when they sent right-hander Garrett Fulenchek to the Rays for a pair of slot bonuses totaling $494,000.
The 19-year old righty was the Braves second-round selection in last year's draft and was ranked presently as the Braves' 13th best prospect. With the Braves' Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2014, Fulenchek pitched to a 4.78 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 37 2/3 innings pitched.
Scouts say Fulenchek has an above-average slider to go with a fast ball that sits at around 91-95 and can touch 96 at some points.
It seems rather odd for a team to trade a top-20 prospect for international signing money, but the Braves have done a great job loading their minor league system with young arms. It was just recently that the Braves acquired Touki Toussaint from the D-Backs. Toussaint now ranks as the Braves' fourth best prospect. They have been telling other teams that they are willing to move young arms for a bat, most notably a young catcher, according to Jayson Stark.
These moves yesterday show that willingness to move talent. Now it will be a test to see if they will do it in order to help their club now. They aren't the sexy trades that everybody wants to see happen, but there are still 28 days for that. These moves might help find the next star. Remember, it's through this amateur free agency that Miguel Cabrera was signed by the Marlins.