Giants give 16-year-old phenom $2.1M signing bonus

Updated: August 19, 2006, 9:13 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants on Saturday signed Angel Miguel Villalona, a 16-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic.

The Giants gave Villalona a $2.1 million signing bonus, making him among the highest paid amateur players in club history, and reportedly outbid the New York Yankees, Mets, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.

"Everybody's excited," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "It's the first time in a while we were at the right place at the right time, because there was a lot of action on him. ... We just have to pick our spots because we don't spend like big-money clubs do in that area. He's a big-money club type of acquisition."

San Francisco also placed backup infielder Kevin Frandsen on the 15-day disabled list after he had his broken jaw wired shut.

Villalona, who turned 16 on Aug. 13, signed for the 2007 season and is expected to report to instructional league in Arizona next month.

He is from the Dominican town of La Ramona, and back home the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Villalona is already drawing comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Wily Mo Pena.

Sabean said if Villalona -- nicknamed "Wily Mo" -- were a draftable player, he would be a legitimate first-round pick.

"For his age, his power is off the charts," Sabean said. "He's a physical kid for 16. ... We think he's on the fast track."

Villalona receives the most money of any amateur player during Sabean's 10-year tenure as GM. He was signed by Pablo Peguero, the organization's director of Dominican operations.

The Giants gave Cuban defector Osvaldo Fernandez, a pitcher, a $1.3 million signing bonus when they signed him to a three-year deal in 1996.

San Francisco was counting on giving Frandsen, 24, playing time in the final month of the season to figure out if he could be the team's starting second baseman next season.

Starter Ray Durham's contract is up after this season.

"He's flown through the minor leagues," general manager Brian Sabean said of Frandsen. "Having said that, you still have to do that on an every day basis when given the opportunity."

The Giants designated infielder Jose Vizcaino, a 15-year veteran, for assignment Monday and placed him on release waivers Friday.

Frandsen was hit by a pitch last Sunday in his final minor league appearance at Triple-A Fresno and seemed to be fine after being examined by a doctor and then by Giants trainer Stan Conte. He even hit his first major league home run Thursday at San Diego, going 3-for-5.

On Friday, Frandsen complained of soreness and an X-ray revealed two non-displaced fractures.

He could begin throwing and hitting within a couple of days.

San Francisco purchased the contract of infielder Tomas De La Rosa from Fresno to fill Frandsen's spot, designating infielder Chad Santos for assignment to free up room on the 40-man roster.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press