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Boston Red Sox banned from signing international players, per Passan

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Jeff Passan reports that the Boston Red Sox have been banned from signing any J-2 international players for the next year

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The Boston Red Sox have been banned from signing any J-2 international players for one year, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, and have had five of their current minor league players declared free agents, as a result of MLB determining that Boston "circumvented signing-bonus rules last year."

Boston was barred from signing any player in last year's J-2 class to more than $300,000, as a result of having gone well past their pool restrictions to sign Yoan Moncada previously.  However, they signed two highly regarded players for the $300,000 limit last year, and apparently also signed lesser prospects to $300,000 deals, which were then, allegedly, re-allocated amongst the players.  The end result was signing players who received amounts in excess of what Boston was allowed to spend.

This is a pretty significant hit, as the Red Sox will apparently lose Albert Guaimaro, Simon Muzziotti, Antonio Pinero, Eduardo Torrealba, and Cesar Gonzalez, who can sign with any team as of Saturday, and also won't be able to sign players who they most likely already had oral agreements in place for, that were anticipated to be consummated tomorrow, when the new J-2 period starts.

This is a very harsh penalty, and it is an indication that MLB is trying to take seriously the task of cleaning up the notoriously corrupt Latin American free agent system.