The San Diego Padres have made MLB history, signing international catcher Ethan Salas to a $5.6 million deal. Salas, who hails from Venezuela, has now signed the largest international contract in league history with San Diego.
The Padres gave up almost all of their international spending money on Salas as they entered the free agency period with just $5.8 available. Salas ranked as the No. 1 overall international prospect via MLB Pipeline. His signing was first reported by Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Salas’ grandfather, father and uncle all played professional baseball. His brother, Jose Salas, is a prospect with the Marlins. His father is currently one of his trainers, as Salas’ family ties have scouts predicting he will be the next in the family to see professional success.
At just 16 years old, there aren’t many official stats on Salas. But when Pipeline scouted the catcher, they described a player with major MLB potential.
“The athletic Salas has a good feel for the strike zone and shows the ability to hit the ball to all fields. He shows good raw power, and it is expected to increase as he develops,” the scouting report read. “He has a nice loose swing and shows the ability to hit home runs in batting practice and games.”
“On defense, he shows plus potential because of his soft hands, blocking ability and receiving skills,” the report continued. “He shows good throwing mechanics and a strong arm. He is already exhibiting leadership skills and runs well for a catcher.”
With his age, Ethan Salas won’t be in the MLB anytime soon. But when he does make the big league, the Padres think he could be a franchise-changing player. And they were willing to pay a new MLB-record to do so.