The Angels signed former Braves top prospect Kevin Maitan on Tuesday afternoon, as first reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal is for $2.2 million, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Maitan was considered the best of 13 Braves prospects ruled free agents following a lengthy Major League Baseball investigation into infractions committed by former general manager John Coppolella and former international scouting director Gordon Blakeley.
Coppolella was banned from baseball for life and issued an apology Tuesday. Blakeley was suspended a year, though he’s indicated he plans to retire.
Maitan was the crown jewel of the 2016 international signing period, receiving $4.25 million from the Braves, a Venezuelan bonus record. He has been compared favorably with countryman Miguel Cabrera and Braves legend Chipper Jones.
He was the Braves’ No. 9 prospect in Baseball America’s rankings. His first year in the U.S. failed to impress, with Maitan hitting .241 with a .290 on-base percentage and two homers across two Braves rookie-league affiliates.
The Angels acquired all the Braves’ remaining pool space ($1.21 million) for taking on Jim Johnson’s salary in a Nov. 30 trade. While it’s unclear what money is being used to sign Maitan, it’s possible the extra funds were put toward signing the former Braves farmhand.
Maitan is the second former Braves prospect to sign following pitcher Yefri del Rosario reaching a deal with the Royals on Tuesday morning. Del Rosario signed for $650,000.
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