Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Amateur infielder Lin Tzu-wei has signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox that included a US$2.05 million signing bonus, according to American media reports.
SoxProspects reported on June 27 that after the deal, the 18-year-old Lin was assigned to the Red Sox's farm team in the Gulf Coast League.
The signing bonus was the second highest given to a Taiwanese player by a major league team, trailing only the US$2.2 million signing bonus the Colorado Rockies gave to pitcher Tsao Chin-hui in 1999.
It was also the largest bonus the Red Sox had ever given to an amateur player from Asia, the report added.
The Red Sox's move to sign Lin quickly was related to a new rule that will take effect on July 2, when all clubs will have their spending on international amateur players capped.
Lin has been a highly sought-after prospect, noted especially for his speed. SoxProspects cited scouting reports that said the left-handed hitting Lin needed only 3.79 seconds to get to first base. Any time under 4 seconds is considered fast.
Baseball America reported Lin may be small -- he is 1.75 meters (5-foot-9) tall and 155 pounds -- but his speed and projected gap-to-gap hitting power has drawn the attention of scouts.
It said the New York Yankees intended to sign Lin to a US$350,000 contract in 2010, but Taiwan's Chinese Taipei Baseball Association threatened to prohibit Lin from playing or coaching in Taiwan in the future if he signed before graduating from high school.
Lin, the tournament MVP in the 2010 IBAF World Junior Championship, could definitely be the answer to the Red Sox's long-term shortstop problem, said Bleacher Report, which said the club has not had a steady shortstop for years.
(By Lin Hung-han and Jamie Wang)