2008 International Signees

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Just like every other year, the 2008 July 2nd International Free Agent Signing Period was dominated by the Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners, baseball’s international superpowers.

Wait, no it wasn’t. In a surprising turn of events, the fiscally challenged A’s and Padres dominated the market, dropping nearly $10M combined on some of the very best players available. Oakland, as you already know, landed the top prize in Michel Inoa, while the Pads used their brand spankin’ new, $8.5M state-of-the-art Dominican academy to land five of the ten best ranked players, including three of the top six. Paul DePodesta is giddy, and rightfully so. (By the way, how awesome is that DePo blog? I wish the Yanks had something like that set up)

The Yanks, always a major factor on the international scene, have had five signings confirmed: shortstops Giancarlo Arias & Anderson Felix (both from the Dominican Republic), outfielders Yeico (15 minutes could save you 15% on your international free agents … okay, that was lame) Calderon (DR) & Ramon Flores (Venezuela), and catcher Jackson Valera (VZ). Saber Scouting says these players were “fringe seven figure talents” who apparently agreed to below market deals between $500,000 and $900,000.

It’s hard to blame the Yanks for focusing on hitters because they are generally safer bets than pitchers (especially when they’re that young), plus they have a nice track record of developing position players from the international scene, especially recently (Alfonso Soriano, Robbie Cano, Juan Rivera & Dioner Navarro come to mind). Flores appears to be the best prospect of the lot, ranking the 12th best Latino Prospect by ESPN. Here’s what they had to say about him:

Flores is a fast runner and an excellent defensive outfielder. This left-handed hitter has good mechanics at the plate, great control of the bat and power to the alleys. He can easily add 25 pounds to his frame (6-0, 160) and gain more power in the process.

Baseball America backs up that report and said he was likely to receive a bonus upwards of $800,000 (subscriber only). He was born in 1992. I feel ridiculously old.

The top overall prospect from the 2006 International Signing Period was Jesus Montero, and we all know what he’s up too. The best player the Yanks signed last year was outfielder Kelvin DeLeon, who is having himself an excellent season in the Dominican Summer League. The best pitcher they signed last year was Arodys “don’t call me Luis” Vizcaino, who has been brilliant with the Rookie level GCL Yanks (sample size warnings obviously apply). Hopefully all of these players continue to develop and be successful.

Parks Dept. reps confirm impending destruction of Yankee Stadium
Hal talks about ... everything
  • MD

    surprised that small market teams outbid us on some of the higher ranked talent……are we cutting back on our aggressiveness in this area, or just focusing on quantity over quality? your opinions?

    • Joltin’ Joe

      Inoa did turn down $5 million and $5.2 million offers as well, so I think it really had to do with Billy Beane’s personal involvement. If they are going to break the bank once they definitely picked the right time to do it.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Big money doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best player. The Indians signed Fausto Carmona, Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez for under $40,000 each. No, I’m not missing a zero there.

      I think you always go quality over quantity. Even though the Yanks didn’t get the big sexy names, they still grabbed some talented kids.

      • RustyJohn

        Wow, 40K? That’s like buying Alaska for $7 million. ALthough off topic, I think CRod should get back at Alex by sleeping with Sandra Bernhard.

  • Steve A

    Was there an announcement on where Yorman Rodriguez signed?

    • Ricochet

      He can’t sign until August but he’s not going to be a Yankee, they were interested but he has no interest in being a Yankee.

  • Eric

    Not every big ticket signing works out. Willy Mo and Jackson Deleon for two.

    • Ricochet

      How did Wily Mo Pena didn’t work out? Maybe he’s not a star but he’s a major leaguer, 80% or more of these guys won’t make it and some of the ones that fo it’s only for a cup of coffee here and there.

      Jackson Melian was a bust. To get drafted or signed you have talent, the tools but it’s being able to apply the tools that makes you good not just having some of the best tools the mean nothing if you don’t know how to use them.

      That what this is finding kids with tools and then trying to teach them how to use them, a lot will fail while other will be be decent and a very few will be very good at applying there tools and the guys that have elite level tools that learn to maximize them are the ones that become superstars but they are few and far between.

  • A.D.

    They got scouts that know what they’re doing, and theres no reason to spend money for the sake of some hyped up 16 year old because he’s represented by an american agent.

    On top of that think back to when you were 16, were the best athletes of your friends now the best at the end of HS? end of college? for most people its not necessarily the case.

  • dan

    I heard somewhere that Inoa got a major league deal (can’t find a source now). In the case of Brackman’s ML deal, it makes more sense because he’s already relatively close to the Majors. But Inoa is only 16, and will take at least 5 years unless he’s insanely dominant right from the get-go. Is it an 8-year deal or something? Or is it not a major league deal at all and I’m just mis-remembering ;) ?

    In any event, if he had gotten a major league deal (which the Reds offered, according to SaberScouting), how could that work with him being so far from the majors? (And yes, I re-read the Brackman contract details post to bush up on this stuff)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I didn’t get a ML deal from Oakland, although the Reds offered one.

      And misremember is actually a word:


      • dan

        I realize that you didn’t get a major league deal, but what about Inoa? j/k

        But had he signed with the Reds, what might his deal have looked like, at least in terms of years?

  • Ricochet

    Well I could care less but BA and Saber Scouting say or how they rank these guys because what they have is mostly hearsay rather than actually scouting and knowledge of the prospects plus teams like the Yankees who are well established as well as well connected try to stash as much talent as they can which in turn they are less know and BA and SS don’t know much about them.

    Going by the hype of these rankings that are meaningless for the most part some fans might be disappointed because they didn’t land one of the top 2 or 3 guys according to the rankings but the Yankees are ecstatic at there haul.

    The Yankees don’t have the same opinion as these mags/sites and they rated a lot differently.

    Sure the Yankees missed out on some of there targets but sometimes it’s just not about offering more money. Yorman Rodriguez is one of the guys they wanted but had no interest in joining the Yankees.

    Michael Inoa was there #1 target and they had a deal in place but as we heard his new representation didn’t honor that and out of principle they didn’t get back involved but at the same time they weren’t going to give a bonus like the A’s did anyways. The Yanks think he’s a nice talent worth a big bonus but they don’t see him as a once a generation type talent that these rags do.

    I know other than Adis Portillo that they didn’t have much if any interest in the rest of there haul.

    The Yankees got the INF/SS that they wanted, the Catcher they wanted and 2 out of the 3 OF’s that they really wanted. They did miss the pitchers they wanted but they wouldn’t be getting them at what they saw as value if they had upped there bid to get them.

    So all in all it was a good July 2nd IFA signing day and let’s remember the Yankees got some quality kids last year after the 2007 July 2nd signing day so don’t be surprised if there are some more this year.

  • David Brown

    The Yankees are NOT favoring quantity over quality. I simply think that the Yankees are putting a higher priority into the draft than Latin America this year. They have signed 28 players so far (Out of a possible 51). source:www.thepinstripepress.com. This does not include high priority unsigned picks such as Cole, Bleich, Bittle, Marshall, Higashioka, and Lassiter (And there is still a possibility of Mitchell, Anders, Monar, McMahan, and Dwyer being signed (Although they are more unlikely)). If you can even get 7 signed, (THE FIRST SIX, PLUS ONE OTHER), that is still 35 draft picks that you need room for in the minors (PLUS the announced Latin American signings (Although they can be kept there for a year or 2 (Like they are doing with Kyle Perkins from Australia)). Finally, if the Yankees were turning into the Mets or Astros, they would not have selected Boras clients (Cole and Bleich), with their first two selections. Simply put, they are NOT SLOT MONEY PICKS, that they can sign cheap. Same applies to Marshall, and everyone else that I have listed (Except MAYBE Bittle). PS: Boston is doing the same thing: Putting a priority on expensive “Signability” cases like, Kelly, Westmoreland, Meyer, and Marquis, instead of Latin America. Maybe, just maybe, the Yanks and Sox are right?

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