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White Sox Smartly Silent on International Signing Day

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Today marks the first day of baseball's international signing period, the designated time period when clubs can legally sign international amateurs most of whom are just 16 years old. The White Sox are not expected to make any significant splash, with some speculating that they will not hand out a single 6-figure bonus. 

A couple of years ago, that statement might have sent me off on a mini tirade bemoaning the Sox cheap ways and the inefficiency of ignoring an entire method of acquiring talent. Not anymore. I'd still like the Sox to participate more (smartly) in the international market, but recognize that they're not in a position to do so right now.

Dave WIlder was the Sox point person on international signings and as I'm sure you're aware is no longer with the club following a federal investigation involving the skimming of bonuses (and laundering those bonuses through a failing Phoenix gay bar). 

The Sox gave Juan Silverio a club-record $600k bonus -- though there's no way of knowing how much actually made it to Silverio -- in the summer preceding the Wilder fiasco, and there have been questions about his age ever since. Silverio struggled in the Appalachian League last summer and found himself back in the Dominican Summer League this year, where he has dominated what might be much younger competition. I stress that's just speculation, but there are pending investigations by MLB and the federal government which have very recently turned up other high-profile age/identity cheats who've slipped through the cracks before.

Anyway, my point wasn't to dwell on Wilder and Silverio. I simply wanted to state that the Sox need to get their own house in order, get their international operation up and running with law-abiding, good baseball people... and then they can start dabbling back in the international market. That process might take another year or two, to build the relationships with the potential signees and (ugh) buscones.

There's no point in rushing back into the international market without the proper team in place. I'd rather the Sox sit out a year or two if it means they're doing everything right when they do eventually jump back in the fray.