The Orioles have signed 18-year-old Guatemalan outfielder Juan Diego Montes to a minor-league contract, according to the Baltimore Sun report.
Prior to the arrival of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette, the Orioles seemed to have a steadfast refusal to sign amateur players from Latin America. Duquette has changed all that, signing players you've never heard of from anywhere he can find them playing baseball.
As a bonus, Montes appears to actually exist. Orioles scouts will probably not be banned from Guatemalan baseball facilities as a result of this signing. With that suit and orange tuxedo, Jim Hunter had better watch out or he'll lose his place in Opening Day festivities.
The Sun reports that Montes is 6'2", 175 pounds. He was scouted as a catcher and outfielder, with the Orioles expected to develop him as an outfielder "because he has a good arm and runs well". He will begin his journey in the organization in the Dominican Summer League next year. The signing bonus was not disclosed.
Whether the signing will amount to anything, or even whether it's a good investment, it's simply too soon to tell. The Warehouse may not even have been able to find Guatemala on a map before Duquette arrived. Now there's enough of a presence there to roll out a background with the O's logo to pose for photographs.
With another likely lean offseason looming, the Orioles have to hope they can unearth gems in places like Guatemala in order to continually compete. A signing like Montes will not help them at all in 2014, but if they can find real prospects in places where other teams aren't even going, that could be an advantage for the franchise in the long run. Perhaps Tuesday's signing is another step towards that becoming a reality.