MLB Prospects 2012: St. Louis Cardinals Sign Dominican RHP Andres Serrano

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed 17-year-old pitcher Andres Serrano for $750,000. The deal marks the Cardinals' continued foray in Dominican Republic pitchers, as two of their top prospects -- RHP Carlos Martinez and RF Oscar Taveras -- also hail of Hispaniola's Spanish-speaking half. According to Badler, both Taveras and Martinez were also recruited out of the same region as the recently-signed Serrano.

The deal is pending the MLB's review of the player's age and identity -- a problem that has plagued many Latin American signings -- but should be finalized soon. The 2012 off-season has been somewhat unusual in many respects as the newest collective bargaining agreement will soon kick in penalties for excessive international signings, resulting in somewhat of a price war among certain teams and prospects to collect as much talent before the new rules take effect.

Badler reports Serrano's $750,000 is the most yet-spent on a Dominican Republic free agent (though that may technically change when Cuban-defector Yoenis Cespedes signs), but there have been four other Latin American free agents signed to deals of $800,000 or more this offseason.

For more on the St. Louis Cardinals, check out the Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos. Stay tuned to to SB Nation St. Louis for more breaking news and updates concerning all matters St. Louis sports.

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