Paniagua brings power arm into Cubs' system

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer is hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to the club’s latest international signing.

Right-hander Juan Carlos Paniagua, 22, a native of the Dominican Republic, was signed this week for $1.5 million. He is expected to head to Mesa, Ariz., to begin throwing but no official decision has been made of yet.

The Cubs are the third different major league organization Paniagua has signed with. His previous two deals were voided because of fraudulent paperwork. He was forced to wait a year before signing again and Friday was the first day he was eligible to work a deal with a team.

Indications are that Paniagua’s previous deals were voided because he used a different name. There were also questions regarding the birth date he was using.

The Cubs believe everything is squared away now.

“We’re excited about him,” Hoyer said. “He has a power arm with a plus slider and a guy our international scouts were high on.”

Because he is 22, the Cubs hope to see him in the major leagues sooner rather than later.

“That was the big part of our thinking,” Hoyer said. “He’s not your typical Dominican signing where he’s going to take a while. We think he can get going pretty quickly once he’s in the States and move fairly quickly through the system.”