St Louis Cardinals logoSt Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Continues Push Into Latin America: Signs Highly Touted Wagner Mateo

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals flies out with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning against New York Mets during game seven of the NLCS at Shea Stadium on October 19, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Matt 'Frostin' FooteCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

(Ya I know the picture is Albert but the picture thing wouldn't allow me to upload one.)

The Cardinals continued their recent push into Latin America with a major signing on Thursday, as they announced a deal with 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo.

Once all but a non-factor in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, the Cardinals have increased their efforts in those areas in recent years. Mateo is the highest-profile fruit of that labor to date.

According to multiple reports, he will receive a bonus of $3 million or a little more. That would be the second-largest bonus ever paid to a Latin American free agent, and the largest to a hitter, trailing only the $4.25 million the A's gave pitcher Michael Ynoa last year.

"This agreement is a significant step for the organization in Latin America and reflects our desire to scout and develop the best talent across the globe," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement issued by the team.

Mateo is listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and swings left-handed. He turned 16 on March 30. He participated in Major League Baseball's RBI World Series in 2007 and 2008, representing the Dominican Republic.

Along with infielder Miguel Sano, Mateo is widely considered one of the top two talents in this year's pool of amateur free agents from Latin America. Thursday marked the beginning of the signing period for those players.

This now means the Cardinals could have a backup to Albert Pujols in a few years as hopefully Mateo continues to crush pitching at a professional level.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices