NEW YORK — The Red Sox were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year, a penalty assessed after Major League Baseball concluded the team broke rules on signing bonuses last summer.
MLB concluded the Red Sox and buscones — local trainer/representatives of the players — worked together to evade a $300,000 cap on signing bonuses to five Venezuelan prospects who were 16 at the time: RHP Cesar Gonzalez, INFs Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba, and OFs Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti.
The signing bonuses of those five were pooled with the bonuses of about 10 other players, and more than $300,000 was given to each of the five, the Associated Press reported.
Boston may not sign international amateur free agents — players under age 23 residing outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico — for the signing period that starts today and runs through July 1, 2017. The contracts of the five players were voided, and they were declared free agents.
The investigation was first reported by Baseball America and details of the discipline were first reported by Yahoo.
Boston was subject to the $300,000 signing bonus limit in 2015-16 because it exceeded its $1,881,700 bonus pool in 2014-15 after agreeing to a $31.5 signing bonus for Cuban INF Yoan Moncada.
The violations occurred before Dave Dombrowski was hired last August as president of baseball operations, taking over from GM Ben Cherington.
"We are not at liberty to comment on an MLB investigation," Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said.
Also, Boston activated utility player Brock Holt from the disabled list.
Blue Jays: DH Edwin Encarnacion and manager John Gibbons were ejected in the first inning against the Indians. Plate umpire Vic Carapazza tossed Encarnacion for arguing a called third strike; all three Toronto batters were called out on strikes in the first,
Marlins: Manager Don Mattingly said newly acquired closer Fernando Rodney will work primarily as a setup man for A.J. Ramos in the bullpen.
Mets: 3B David Wright said he can't start rehabilitation from neck surgery until mid September, making it unlikely he will play again this year. Also, Wright said Jose Reyes' actions in a domestic-violence dispute were "horrible," but he is pleased his once and current teammate is getting a second chance with New York. Last month the Rockies released Reyes, a Met from 2003-11, after he served a 59-day domestic violence suspension.