NY International Signings 2014: All Your Prospect Are Belong To Us

jon abbey

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Long rumored, today is when NY's plan to spend wildly on Latin American prospects has begun. RAB says:
 
"They have been assigned a $2.2M signing pool but are reportedly willing to spend upwards of $30M between bonuses and penalties. They’re said to have several verbal agreements already in place, many of which are individually worth more than the team’s signing pool.
The penalties for the spending spree will be pretty harsh. Not only will the Yankees have to pay a 100% tax on just about every dollar they spend, they will also not be allowed to sign any player to a bonus worth more than $300k during the next two international signing periods (2015-16 and 16-17). With rumors of an international draft continuing to circulate, this may be New York’s last chance to spend freely on amateurs."
 
They have already spent around $10M of that including penalties:
 
  • 1:40pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican SS Nelson Gomez for $2.25M, reports Sanchez. He was ranked the second and sixth best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. “Gomez, who trains with Victor Baez, has at least plus raw power … He has good bat speed and packs plenty of strength into a heavy, big-boned frame, putting on an impressive display in batting practice with power to all fields,” says Badler.
  • 12:50pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican SS Dermis Garcia, according to Dionisio Soldevila. He received a $3.2M bonus after being connected to the team for weeks now. MLB.com and Baseball America ranked Garcia as the best and ninth best prospect available, respectively, with Badler saying he is “strong, generates huge loft and puts on a fireworks display in batting practice, with 70 raw power that rates as the best in the class”
  • 11:25amJesse Sanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Diego Castillo for $750k. He ranked 16th and 24th on MLB.com’s and Baseball America’s top 30 lists, respectively. “Castillo is one of the most intelligent players in Latin America. He slows the game down, playing calmly and under control in all phases of the game,” wrote Badler.
  • 10:23am: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Frederick Cuevas for $300k, reports Ben Badler. He does not rank among Baseball America’s or MLB.com’s top 30 prospects. “Cuevas is a lefty who has performed well at the plate in games with gap power. He doesn’t have a tool that jumps out and he fits best in left field,” wrote Badler.
Total Known Bonuses: $6.5M. Total Penalties: ~$4.3M. Total spent: ~$10.8M.
 

LondonSox

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I agree with the policy, as in if you want guys who are going to take you over your limit then once you pop you might as well not stop, but are these guys ALL worth the money?? If so why aren't other teams in?

It's a logical plan but you only get to do it once every 3 years, and it's interesting that the sox and yanks picked the same year
 

jon abbey

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LondonSox said:
It's a logical plan but you only get to do it once every 3 years, and it's interesting that the sox and yanks picked the same year
 
I guess the worry is that there will be an international draft instituted soon, so only a year or two left to try this rare loophole remaining in the CBA.
 

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So, 4 years from now they'll be trading these guys for Adrian Beltre, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shane Victorino, and to get Derek Jeter back?
or they flame out....
 

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  • 3:21pmSanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Wilkerman Garcia for $1.35M. Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as the seventh and 14th best prospect on the market, respectively. “Garcia draws widespread praise for his hitting with good bat-to-ball skills and a sound swing from both sides of the plate,” wrote Badler.
 
Also they changed Gomez' position to 3B, so that's three SSs, a 3B and an OF.
 

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I heard that Jeter thinks it's a slap in the face that NY is signing all these SS before he officially retires.
 

jon abbey

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Everyone has different lists, but I think NY is up to 7 of the top 20 now, with more still to come, I believe:
 
  • 6:47pm: According to Badler, the Yankees have signed Korean SS Hyo-Jun Park. His bonus is not yet known but it’s expected to be in the $1.2M range. Park was ranked as the 13th and 19th best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. Everything you need to know about him is in this guest post from Sung-Ming Kim.
  • 6:36pm: The Yankees have also signed 16-year-old Venezuelan C Miguel Flames, according to Badler. No word on his bonus yet. Flames was considered the 16th best prospect by Baseball America and 25th best by MLB.com. “Scouts who like Flames say he hits in games and takes quality at-bats thanks to his pitch recognition and ability to stay within the strike zone,” wrote Badler, who notes Flames is a recently converted third baseman.
  • 6:33pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Juan De Leon, reports Badler. His bonus is not yet known but it is expected to be in the $2M range. Baseball America and MLB.com rank De Leon has the second and fifth best prospect available, respectively. Badler says “De Leon has a short, efficient swing and strong wrists that help him generate the best bat speed in the class, which is why several scouts consider De Leon one of the top hitters available.”
 

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  • 7:03pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan RHP Servando Hernandezfor $200k, reports Badler. He is not among MLB.com’s nor Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects. Hernandez “has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and touches 90-91 mph. He shows feel for his changeup and is mostly a fastball/changeup pitcher with the curveball his No. 3 pitch,” says Badler.
 

StuckOnYouk

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Kudos to Bud Selig and the MLB owners to once again allow the Yankees to pillage and plunder to their hearts content.
Usually NY waits for the offseason to so this.
 

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StuckOnYouk said:
Kudos to Bud Selig and the MLB owners to once again allow the Yankees to pillage and plunder to their hearts content.
Usually NY waits for the offseason to so this.
 
Yeah, I think it was pretty unfair that Selig prevented other clubs from trying to make deals with international players. 
 

jon abbey

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StuckOnYouk said:
The Yankees are making a mockery of this signing period can we at least agree on that?
 
"Mockery" is a strange word, they are certainly going nuts signing young kids today. I don't know where exactly they plan to play four or five 16 year old shortstops, but I am all for it. 
 

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  • 7:46pmMcDaniel reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan OF Jonathan Amundaray for approximately $1.5M. MLB.com ranked him seventh and Baseball America ranked him 22nd. “Amundaray has good bat speed with a slight uppercut and average raw power that has a chance to be plus in the future … He has a decent stroke, but he doesn’t have an innate feel for hitting, with some length to his swing and inconsistent bat-to-ball skills,” wrote Badler.
  • 7:42pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Antonio Arias, according to Kiley McDaniel. The bonus is believed to be around $1M. MLB.com ranked Arias as the ninth best prospect when Baseball America had him 28th. “He’s one of the better athletes in Latin America, with plus speed that he should be able to maintain as he adds weight to stay in center field … He flashes solid bat speed and power potential, but everything about Arias is physical projection,” says Badler.
 

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  • 8:01pmMcDaniel has a bunch of low-profile, small bonus signings: Venezuelan OF Leobaldo Cabrera, Venezuelan C Jason Lopez, Dominican OF Lisandro Blanco, Dominican IF Wander Hernandez, Venezuelan OF Raymundo Moreno, Dominican OF Adolfo Morillo, Venezuelan OF Pablo Olivares, Dominican C Bismar Nunez, Dominican LHP Luis Pache, Venezuelan SS Danienger Perez, and Venezuelan RHP Gilmael Troya. No word on any bonuses, but again, they’re small.
 

jon abbey

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They might need to add a new farm team, it looks like they are going to sign something like 25-30 guys. 
 

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This has certainly brightened my day.  I'm all for casting a wide net.  Hopefully at least a handful of these kids pan out.
 

jon abbey

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Quite possibly the best day of 2014 for NY, they will probably go after another wave in December before the restrictions kick in next July. 
 

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jon abbey said:
Quite possibly the best day of 2014 for NY, they will probably go after another wave in December before the restrictions kick in next July. 
 
No, no, no.  Not even close.  The best day of 2014 for the Yankees was the 22nd of January. 
 

StuckOnYouk

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I'm convinced in 5-10 years there won't be a single player on the Yankees who can speak english.
 

rembrat

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Literally the smartest thing the Yankees have done in a long time.
 

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You have a point, but to be fair, it doesn't take a lot of smarts to do what the Yankees did today. It wasn't smarts that had them hand over a blank checkbook to Tanaka either.  Both actions are a result of a poorly run development system and an endless amount of cash.
 
I'll give them kudos for being smart enough to know that they suck at developing talent and are trying to fix it with cash I guess. Because they sure as hell can't rely on the draft.
 

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Since pretty much everyone in this thread including myself is largely talking out of their ass on this topic, here is the paywall BA preview of what they expected NY to do during this signing period, pretty interesting (the sections in bold aren't mine, I cut and pasted the whole thing from nyyfans, which I visited for the first time in months today):

==============================================

 
Under international scouting director Donny Rowland, the Yankees are one of the most thorough teams covering the globe. While some teams prefer to make quick decisions, trainers have commented that the Yankees have to see players several times before they’re willing to sign them. It’s a process that has netted one of the more impressive collections of young Latin American talent. Dominican catcher Gary Sanchez entered the season as the team’s best prospect, with Dominican righthander Luis Severino putting himself into the discussion for that title this season. Abiatal Avelino, Rafael De Paula, Luis Torrens, Leonardo Molina, Jorge Mateo and Thairo Estrada all have promise in the lower levels of the system.

Now the Yankees are ready to take things to an unprecedented level, at least in the bonus pool era, with estimates that they could spend in the neighborhood of $15 million in bonuses, which would mean a 100 percent tax on the overage of their $2.19 million bonus pool and the inability to sign any players for more than $300,000 during the next two periods. Teams are going to disagree about whether the Yankees (or any other team) are spending their money on the right players, but as an overarching strategy, blitzing the international market from the start is something I advocated certain teams do back in May 2013. The Rays, Cubs and Rangers have all gone over their pool in the past, but never with the early commitment to do so that the Yankees have shown, or to the same magnitude of investment.

The Yankees have been tied to four of Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects for July 2 and might sign another 10 or so guys from the Top 30. Not every team is going to think they’re getting that kind of talent, and the Yankees probably have the guys they’re going to sign even higher on their pref lists. But realistically, since the Yankees are unlikely to have a top five bonus pool in any of the next two signing periods, they would be looking at getting perhaps one premium prospect and maybe a second guy from a Top 30 in each of the next two signing periods, which is what happened last year when they signed outfielder Leonardo Molina and shortstop Yonauris Rodriguez out of the Dominican Republic. Repeat that for two more years and you get 3-6 of the top prospects on the market in a three-year window. Instead, the Yankees have the chance to pick up 10 of their top players in one year, and while they won’t be able to sign a player for more than $300,000 the next two years, that’s still plenty of space to find quality prospects—Severino, Avelino, Mateo and Estrada are evidence of that.

It’s going to cost the Yankees more money in bonuses and tax money, but not only can they can afford the extra cash, but it allows them to make up for not having a draft pick this year until No. 55 overall. Their most expensive signing will likely end up being Dominican shortstop Dermis Garcia, who’s expected to get around $3 million. Several teams prefer Dominican outfielder Juan De Leon, who the Yankees are the favorites to sign. De Leon and Dominican third baseman Nelson Gomez, another Yankees target, are both believed to be looking at bonuses a little north of $2 million.

Those three players would make for a strong haul alone, but the Yankees won’t be done there. Venezuelan outfielder Jonathan Amundaray and Venezuelan catcher Miguel Flames (a former third baseman) are two players heavily linked to the Yankees, with expected price tags of at least $1 million. Venezuelan shortstop Diego Castillo and Venezuelan outfielder Antonio Arias, two more Yankees targets, should be in line for high six-figure bonuses. Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery could be another one. Dominican shortstop Christopher Torres has been linked to the Yankees, but his situation is more cloudy now than it was a few months ago.

At the low to mid six-figure range, the Yankees have also been tied to Venezuelan outfielder Raymundo Moreno, Dominican outfielder Frederick Cuevas, Venezuelan outfielder Pablo Olivarez, Nicaraguan righthander Walner Davila and Venezuelan righthander Cervando Hernandez. And should any Cuban players pop up who fall under the bonus pool rules but might merit a team busting its pool to sign them, the Yankees would seem to be in prime position to land them.

 
http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/international-forecasts-30-teams/
 

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rembrat said:
Literally the smartest thing the Yankees have done in a long time.
 
Indeed. If a team has financial muscle it should be flexed in smart ways, and there are some signs that the Yankees are finally starting realize that, today and Tanaka. Rather than signing the McCann's and Dreamboat's of the world.
 

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jon abbey said:
 
Matt Winkelman ‏@Matt_Winkelman  15m
Next year the Yankees might need 3 GCL teams
 
 
I thought this was hilarious.  In all seriousness though... I hate you guys right now.  And not just a little.  I agree that this is a smart play by the Yankees.  I hope the Red Sox grab a couple more of the top 30 guys.  If you're going to splash the pot, splash the fucking pot.
 

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Well, they signed McCann, Ells and Tanaka in the same off-season without any personal changes in between the McCann/Ells and Tanaka deals.
 
I think Hal got to play The Boss for a bit and once it became apparent that his plan to get under the cap was an utter failure the board resumed Yankee operations, that is to spend, spend, spend. So, I don't think they got smarter but maybe a bit clever? I mean what do you do if suddenly you can't sign the best players in the league because they aren't reaching free agency? Why you invest in young international talent betting they become blue chippers. Then it's just like going to the candy store and picking between Bryce Harper Clown Cookies or Clayton Kershaw No Nos. 
 

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Snodgrass said:
 
I thought this was hilarious.  In all seriousness though... I hate you guys right now.  And not just a little.  I agree that this is a smart play by the Yankees.  I hope the Red Sox grab a couple more of the top 30 guys.  If you're going to splash the pot, splash the fucking pot.
m
Most of them already have "handshake deals" with teams. So I doubt the sox are connected to any of them


Though don't most international prospects like these have a higher "bust" rate then the mlb draft? Seem the Yankees are taking a big gamble
 

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rembrat said:
Well, they signed McCann, Ells and Tanaka in the same off-season without any personal changes in between the McCann/Ells and Tanaka deals.
 
I think Hal got to play The Boss for a bit and once it became apparent that his plan to get under the cap was an utter failure the board resumed Yankee operations, that is to spend, spend, spend. So, I don't think they got smarter but maybe a bit clever? I mean what do you do if suddenly you can't sign the best players in the league because they aren't reaching free agency? Why you invest in young international talent betting they become blue chippers. Then it's just like going to the candy store and picking between Bryce Harper Clown Cookies or Clayton Kershaw No Nos. 
 
Sure, but with the minor limitations in place if you go over your pool, it makes sense to pick a year and go nuts.  When you're the Yankees, going nuts means being the favorites to sign 1/3 of the top 30 in the class, which is preposterous.  If the Red Sox come away with one more in the top 30 I'm going to be doing back flips over it.  He'll, I'm on the verge of that with just 2.  So at least they realized that if they're going all in on this class, they should really be going all in.
 
The chances that one of the two pitchers the Red Sox grabbed becoming above average major league starting pitchers aren't great.  They're not bad, and the ceilings on both kids are enormous and fun to think about, but the chances they pan out aren't great.  That's the nature of signing 16 year olds.  And while the chances that any one of the Yankees' signees pan out are also not great, but the odds that they get one very good or great player out of this year's class are higher than the odds the Sox get one just because the sheer amount of shit they are throwing at the wall here.  This reminds me of the Sox going on a big spending spree right before the new CBA added draft slotting to the amateur draft.  It's a narrow window to take advantage of something that's going to disappear soon.  It doesn't take a genius to spot the opportunity, but it's still smart to take advantage of it.
 
soxhop411 said:
m
Most of them already have "handshake deals" with teams. So I doubt the sox are connected to any of them


Though don't international prospects like these have a higher "bust" rate then the mlb draft?
 
Maybe, though it would make sense considering the average kid signing in this situation is about 2 years younger than the best high school kids and up to 6 years younger than the college seniors being drafted.
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, the estimates beforehand were that this will cost them maybe $30M in total. That's a sizable sum for many teams, for NY it is 2/3 of an idiotic Beltran deal. 
 

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Of course while it's an impressive show of commitment and a much needed shot in the arm for the system potentially. What boggles the mind is what they could have done if they had acted this way in the past.

They waited until they can only do it once every three years and likely just once before a draft is started and where they have to pay double tax (and likely just encouraged said draft) and never over the years when they were free to do so.
Just like they never blew out the draft when they could have.

So while I never like to see the Yankees do something smart, and it will likely be a long time until we know if they picked the right guys, I will also say their timing on figuring out they have the money and ability to do this, sucks. If they had figured out that it's a better use of resources than old free agents a decade ago we might all be suicidal.
 

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Well, not all of us. :)
 
But, yes, agreed entirely. Better late than never for us Yankee fans, but these guys won't be making impacts for 6-7 years if then. In the meantime, throwing money at aging FAs no longer works, so NY has to get a lot smarter quickly or things will keep getting uglier in the Bronx. 
 

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LondonSox said:
Of course while it's an impressive show of commitment and a much needed shot in the arm for the system potentially. What boggles the mind is what they could have done if they had acted this way in the past.

They waited until they can only do it once every three years and likely just once before a draft is started and where they have to pay double tax (and likely just encouraged said draft) and never over the years when they were free to do so.
Just like they never blew out the draft when they could have.

So while I never like to see the Yankees do something smart, and it will likely be a long time until we know if they picked the right guys, I will also say their timing on figuring out they have the money and ability to do this, sucks. If they had figured out that it's a better use of resources than old free agents a decade ago we might all be suicidal.
 
That was my thought as well, why weren't they doing this for the past decade?
 

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I have no clue, but is there something that prevented teams in the past from doing this? I mean, it's only 15 mil (give or take pre-penalty) I imagine any team could have and should have been doing this.
 

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I think what kept NY from doing this general kind of thing in previous seasons was the worry that if they did, the rules would then be changed to limit their ability to use their massive monetary advantage. So since the rules have changed anyway and NY is now more desperate than they've been in a few decades, they went for it. 
 

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In the past, there was always next year. Maybe you could watch some of these guys develop a little longer or just wait to see what next year's crop held. There was no pressure. Everyone seems to agree that an international draft is coming, so this is just a one-time market aberration/land grab. Hell, even the Rays blew thru their international bonus pool by at least 2 million yesterday and will be paying the 100% tax. That pretty much tells you what you need to know about the situation.
 

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Wow, I hate it when the MFYs do something smart with their money.  As London said, had they'd done this before the draft salary cap salary cap was installed, it would have been ugly.
 
Wingack said:
I have no clue, but is there something that prevented teams in the past from doing this? I mean, it's only 15 mil (give or take pre-penalty) I imagine any team could have and should have been doing this.
 
With regard to the draft, my only thought is that the Cashman felt like if he wildly outspent every team before the salary cap was instituted, the small market teams would have asked for even more concessions.  I thought Cashman was very careful not to be the #1 spending team in the draft during those years.

With respect to the international pool, I think that until this year, not being able to sign a prospect for over $300,000 would be a very real penalty.  However, with the international draft coming down the pike, teams think that these penalties would be moot - though it would be interesting/ironic/unhappy for if the new rules kept the penalties substantially in place while still implementing the draft.
 

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jon abbey said:
I think what kept NY from doing this general kind of thing in previous seasons was the worry that if they did, the rules would then be changed to limit their ability to use their massive monetary advantage. So since the rules have changed anyway and NY is now more desperate than they've been in a few decades, they went for it. 
 
I think this is exactly right. 
 

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I agree that this is a great strategy by the Yankees.
 
Sign all the guys who profile in the middle of the diamond and see who sticks. Increases the likelihood of finding a superstar, an all-star, a MLB regular or even guys who have prospect luster for trade.
 
I'm mad too. This is the best use of financial muscle I've seen since the Sox in the early aughts leveraged the draft.