A contingent of Diamondbacks officials, including owner Ken Kendrick and CEO Derrick Hall, departed for the Dominican Republic on Thursday on a fact-finding mission. They hope they can begin to build a competitive advantage in a market that’s both unpredictable yet lucrative, one that was once fruitful for the organization but, in recent years, has been mostly barren.
“We’re going to make some investment in the Dominican as a centerpiece to international scouting,” Kendrick said last week.
After recent changes to baseball’s collective-bargaining agreement, the Diamondbacks’ new regime seems to be reassessing the club’s place in the international landscape. Among the new rules is a hard cap on international spending; the Diamondbacks, by virtue of their classification as a small-revenue club, are among eight teams with the most money to spend, $5.75 million, in the upcoming signing period.
But teams with the least to spend still have $4.75 million. With so little separation, the Diamondbacks are betting that factors beyond pure dollars could weigh heavily on attracting top talent.
Already, the club has an educational component for their Latin-born players, providing instructors and a classroom setting for them to work toward a high school diploma. The team is hoping a new facility – or, at least, a significant upgrade to their current one in Boca Chica – could further entice players.
“So what differentiates club to club?” Kendrick said. “We think things like a strong educational program, a good facility, a good scouting system, etc., so we want to try to put our best foot forward down there.”
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