Phillies sign international free agent after MLB strips him from Boston

 

 DENVER _ Boston's loss turned into the Phillies' gain on Friday as the Phillies signed an international free agent whose previous contract with the Red Sox was voided last week by Major League Baseball.

 

      The Phillies signed Venezuelan outfielder Simon Muzziotti for $750,000, but just $450,000 will count against their international signing pool. Muzziotti, 17, signed last July with Boston for $300,000, which seemed to be a bargain for a player that was ranked by MLB.com as the 14th best international free agent.

 

      An investigation by Major League Baseball founded that the Red Sox circumvented the bonus pool structure last summer to several Venezuelan players in package deals. The Red Sox were not allowed to give a player more than $300,000 last summer because they exceeded their bonus pool the year before.

 

      MLB said the Red Sox signed players last summer who are worth more than $300,000 by giving deals to lesser players who would then funnel that money to the bigger names. MLB stripped the Red Sox of five international players signed last summer and banned them from signing any players this summer.

 

      MLB allowed Muzziotti to keep his $300,000 signing bonus from Boston. He played 17 games this season with Boston's team in the Dominican Summer League. He batted .317 in 60 at-bats. He will soon join the Phillies team in Venezuela. The Phillies had scouted him last year when he signed for Boston.

 

      Muzziotti is the seventh international free agent signed by the Phillies since the period opened on July 2. All of the players are from Venezuela, where the Phillies have an academy. They did not empty their entire $5.6 million pool when the period began as they chose to save money in case something arose. And that's how they were able to afford Muzziotti.