Did the 2007 draft (and Gerrit Cole) scare the Yankees?

Noesi's long-term value
Minor Notes: Montero, Quintana, Affiliates
Did Brackman screw things up for future drafts? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

This past Monday was the signing deadline for 2011 draft picks, and according to Baseball America‘s free database, the Yankees signed 23 of their 50 picks. That’s a little light compared to a typical year, in which a team will usually sign around 30 draftees. No big deal, just a bit of an anomaly. What isn’t an anomaly is the amount of money the Yankees are spending to sign these players. As Jim Callis noted in his chat earlier this week, the Yankees spent just $6.3M on this year’s draft, just about 80% of the $7.6M league average. It’s the second straight year they’ve come in under $7M spent and third time in the last four years.

Just to provide some context before we go any further, here’s the signing bonus info for the last few years (source, source)…

That’s as far back as I can find the league info, and I can’t find a simple break down of the team-by-team spending this year. Just knowing that the Yankees spent below the average is enough anyway, their actual rank among the 30 teams isn’t of dire importance.

The Yankees went big in 2007. Andrew Brackman was ranked as the 7th and 21st best prospect available right before the draft by Baseball America and Keith Law, respectively (subs. req’d for both), and New York was able to grab him with the 30th overall pick. The Yankees gave him a four-year Major League contract worth at least $4.55M ($3.35M signing bonus spread out over six years) and potentially worth $13M, which at the time would have been the richest deal in draft history. They did this knowing that Brackman would need Tommy John surgery, which he had a week after signing.

They didn’t stop there though. The Yankees gave fourth rounder Bradley Suttle (billed as the top pure college hitter by Baseball America before the draft) a $1.7M bonus, at the time a record for the round. They also handed tenth rounder Carmen Angelini a $1M bonus, which was a then-record for a non-draft-and-follow player taken in that round. Those three plus more (other notable 2007 draftees include Austin Romine and Brandon Laird) resulted in that $7.43M spending spree, topped only by the Orioles ($7.67M thanks to the $6M they gave Matt Wieters) and Nationals ($7.62M).

Less than three full years later, the start of the 2010 season, all three of those guys looked like duds. Brackman missed 2008 with his elbow surgery then was a disaster in 2009 (5.91 ERA and 4.66 FIP in 106.2 IP in Low-A). Suttle had a fine year in Low-A in 2008 (.361 wOBA), but he missed the entire 2009 season due to a pair of shoulder surgeries. Angelini was a complete disaster, posting just a .271 wOBA in 888 plate appearances between 2008 and 2009. That doesn’t mean they were bad picks at the time of the draft, they just weren’t working out.

The 2008 draft was a special case for the Yankees, who obviously shot for the moon with Gerrit Cole but failed to sign him. They would have been one of the top spenders had he agreed to turn pro. Second rounder Scott Bittle didn’t sign because the Yankees didn’t like the medicals, so that contributed to the relatively small amount of spending they did. The two compensation picks in the 2009 draft turned into Slade Heathcott and J.R. Murphy, who received over-slot bonuses in part because the Yankees had little leverage. Had they not signed those two, they wouldn’t have gotten another compensation pick the next year. Their hands were tied, they had to sign those guys otherwise it would have been two straight drafts without two top picks.

In each of the last two years, once the futures of Brackman, Suttle, and Angelini became a bit more clear and the Cole/Bittle stuff had fully run its course, the Yankees have signed their first round pick for slot money*. Last year it was Cito Culver and this year it was Dante Bichette Jr, both of whom were drafted ahead of where the consensus thought they’d go. The Yankees dropped seven-figures on just one player in each year (Mason Williams in 2010 and Greg Bird in 2011), compared to 2006 and 2007 when they handed out three $1M+ bonuses each year.

Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told K. LevineFlandrup that the team’s draft budget is flexible and they can drop big money on a kid if they believe he’s worth it, but we just haven’t seen those kinds of deals handed out the last two years. I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence that the draft spending has gone down since it became apparent that Brackman, Suttle, and Angelini were starting to look like flops after the 2009 season. I can’t tell you who made the decision to scale back on the spending (Oppenheimer? Brian Cashman? ownership? all of the above?), but their recent drafting a spending habits certainly suggest that someone put the clamps down.

The Yankees have more money than every other team and haven’t been using it to their advantage in the draft these last two years. They still clean up on the Latin American market, which has been and always will be the backbone of their farm system (hooray for free agency!), but the draft is the most efficient way to add high-end talent to the organization. I think the Yankees have done a fantastic job in the middle and late rounds of the draft in recent years (where they consistently spend over-slot), but the effort with top picks, when the top talent is available, is clearly lacking. I think that 2007 draft scared them away from huge bonuses, as did Cole’s rejection in 2008. They won’t feel the impact of skimping out on top draft talent for another two years or so, but they’re going to feel it eventually.

* Bichette was over-slot technically, but only by $55,200. That’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it might as well be slot money.

Noesi's long-term value
Minor Notes: Montero, Quintana, Affiliates
  • CountryClub

    Not sure if Cole scared them or not, but this most likely won’t be an issue moving forward since the hard slotting system is coming. Selig has been very vocal about it recently. It’s coming.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      I’d be shocked if the Players’ Union actually caved on hard slotting, since that’s only one or two steps removed from a major league salary cap.

      And for the good of baseball, I really hope they don’t cave.

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

        Yep. The only people that want slotting are the owners, particularly those of bad teams.

        • Gonzo

          Didn’t someone from Yankees’ ownership come out for hard slotting? Or was that international draft?

          • MikeD

            I’d be interested to see who that was, if it is indeed true, and if that person was articulating the overall view of the Yankee organization.

            It’s not to the Yankees advantage to have hard slotting and, related, an international draft. I can see where other, less-wealthy teams might support this, but certainly not teams like the Yankees.

            • Gonzo

              I think I read it on this site, but I can’t find it. I remember Tommie joking that they must have let Hank speak.

        • http://bloodfarm.tumblr.com mattdamonwayans

          Where is your proof for this? A lot of bad teams spend really big on the draft, this year especially.

          • A.D.

            Cause they have the top picks, thus the picks most likely to command the most money

            • Gonzo

              I am not taking sides, but the Pirates and Nats outspent the Yankees by a decent amount even if you take out Rendon and Cole.

              • http://bloodfarm.tumblr.com mattdamonwayans

                If teams that finish poorly are pro slotting they sure don’t act like it.

    • MikeD

      I don’t think there will be hard slotting, but I do think it’s possible the Yankees are trying to be on their best behavior until the new CBA is negotiated.

      • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

        Yeah, baseball seems to be focused on civility and stability. Considering how profitable it is anyway, I see no reason for the owners to take a hard stance on this.

      • Bryan

        Great point. Was actually thinking about this.

        Do you think all fingers are pointed at the Yankees, or are the Red Sox just everyone’s darling?

  • JT

    I wonder how all the picks from the (2009 and 2010) drafts that were the consensus “best available picks”, at the time the Yankees were up to select but skipped over, are doing now?

    • Thomas

      Looking at some of the highly rated players available in the 2009 draft (somewhat in order from best to worst at the time of the draft).

      Nick Castellanos – .787 OPS as 19 year old in A – 65th best prospect pre-2011 by BA
      Anthony Ranaudo – 101 Ks and 36 BBs over 114 IP as a 21 year old in A/A+ – 67th best prospect pre-2011 by BA
      Stetson Allie – 23 K and 24 BB in 22.1 IP as a 20 year old in NYPL – 79th best prospect pre-2011 by BA
      Asher Wojciechowski – 82 Ks and 28 BBs in 112 IP as a 22 year old in A+
      Bryce Brentz – .965 OPS as a 22 year old in A/A+
      LeVon Washington – .684 OPS as 19 year old in A
      Sammy Solis – 73 Ks and 22 BB over 77 IP as a 22 year old in A/A+

      Cito Culver – .725 OPS as an 18 year old in NYPL

      While stats obviously don’t tell the whole story, as you would expect some of the top prospects taken over Culver did better and some did worse. Personally, at the time and presently, I still wish they took another prospect, namely Castellanos.

      • Gonzo

        Hey, AJ Cole got more money than a few of those guys!

      • Jimmy McNulty

        I didn’t really want Levon Washington, I liked Cole, Workman, Ranaudo, and Tyrell Jenkins a lot.

  • art vandelay

    i think it has a lot to do with ownership … It’s amazing that they have all this money and have no problem throwing it at a LOOGY (who hasn’t even pitched yet this year !) but not into the future (drafts) Cashman has done a good job since 2005 with the draft, but I really don’t understand why they don’t spend the money on the talent when it’s there. It really is odd to see them pay slot in the 1st round the past two years. but who knows. maybe those two will work out.

  • MikeD

    The change in their draft philosophy also conincides with the rise of the Steinbrenner brothers. Hal is known to be a hard budget man, something his father was not. That doesn’t mean he won’t spend, since the Yankees clearly have kept spending, but Hal may simply be forcing Cashman and his team to submit a draft budget, and the Yankees knowing there is a limit, don’t want to blow a large percentage of the budget on a single player at the top.

    As noted above, we should discount the impact of the upcoming CBA on the Yankees actions. I read that George Steinbrenner was concerned enough about it the last time that the Yankees did alter their strategy for a while until the new deal was hammered out. Perhaps we’re seeing some of that again. If so, the Yankees may have an entirely different, and more aggresive strategy, next year once the new deal is in place and the team understands its obligations better.

    • MikeD

      we *shouldn’t* discount the impact of the upcoming CBA.

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      Steinbrenner seems like a decent businessman though. Wouldn’t it make sense to invest a good amount of cash on the top players, especially since good, young players are harder to come by?

      • MikeD

        Yes. It makes a ton of sense for a team like the Yankees to take it’s greatest strength — financial power — and use it to its advantage. They’ll go out and give $13 million a season to a reliever, Soriano, but they seem unwilling to spend more than $6 or $7 million on the Rule Four Draft. If I’m running the Yankees, I’m upping the money spent on drafting and development. It’s a small expense in the overall operation and get yield great results, either in developing talent that can directly help the team on the field, or on trading that talent for more MLB-ready players.

        I do think Hal Steinbrenner is a smart businessman, but that doesn’t mean he fully understands all aspects of baseball operations yet, or perhaps (likely) there’s something we don’t know here.

        It’s clear the drafting of Culver and Bichette is by design and relates to the budget. The Yankees want to have more money for later draftees. Maybe it’s even a good strategy for a couple of years. Seems to me, though, the smarter strategy is pumping two or three million more into the draft, getting both the higher-end prospects and the great value they’ve been able to identify and sign later in the draft.

        They’re not dumb; I just don’t agree with the early round strategy of the past two years.

        • Preston

          I don’t think the Yankees are being cheap with these picks, it just so happens that their scouting department thought more highly of those two players than pundits did. Both Culver and DBJ signed early for relatively cheap and got into rookie leagues long before most early picks do (and in both cases I feel like they have definitely out-performed the pundits evaluations). This might be the result of a certain kind of personality we are valuing in our picks (work ethic, desire to play major league baseball?) rather than a desire to go cheap.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          The Yankees want to have more money for later draftees.

          Then spend money on later draftees, they haven’t really spent a lot of money in the draft like a team such as the Yankees should over the past two years.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      This doesn’t seem to make sense given that they spent 36 million dollars on a guy that won’t even throw 300 innings in his Yankee career and 8 million on a guy that probably won’t even throw 50 innings.

  • mbonzo

    The 2011 class was great, but the overslot players available to the Yankees were huge question marks, be it health or signability. Maybe 2008-2009 taught them to be more cautious with players other teams didn’t want to draft early. Obviously, I would rather see the Yankees draft Bell over Bichette, but Gerrit Cole might have been a perfect example of why they shouldn’t have. Its easy to now that they should have gone after him, but when you look at the rate of success for overslot guys, and the chance of them not signing, it starts to make more sense to go a different route. Yankees seem to be pulling what the 90’s Braves did, and quietly scouting players without drawing much attention to them. They’re also basing their picks, seemingly, on character, something that isn’t a huge part of scouting. With the success we see in Charleston and Staten Island, I think we’ve gotta give the organization some credit for their recent drafting.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      Obviously, I would rather see the Yankees draft Bell over Bichette, but Gerrit Cole might have been a perfect example of why they shouldn’t have

      This is dumb, Gerrit Cole was the number one pick in the draft last year. You have to at least TRY to get that guy. Imagine if he had signed?

  • nathan

    The last 2 draft classes have left us all underwhelmed… and when 2015 hits with all those aging Yanks on the roster, the lack of farm system then would be a real kick in the butt

    • Rick in Boston

      I’m not sure why they’ve left people underwhelmed. Yes, the Yankees did not draft the most highly touted players. But, it’s not like the players have not been productive – they’re playing well, and should progress.

      • Bryan

        It looks like the Yankees changed draft philosophies from 2010 – taking untouted raw HS athletes they feel have great potential to develop, and have the character to develop.

        Looking at 2007 – 2009, they were signing the ‘name’ prospects. What happened to Lassiter, Angelini, Suttle? In their A+ AA AAA teams, there’s a lot of underperforming players. The front office probably decided on a shift in strategy. I’m confident in it myself.

        Personally, Oppenheimer did do a lousy job in 2007 and 2008, which the farm system is feeling as a result. Sean Black, Caleb Cotham, Shane Greene, Sam Elam? They should be a reminder that college pitchers are just as risky as HS pitchers. Compare that to the scouting reports on De Luca, Mitchell, Gerritse. May as well sign the younger pitcher with a higher ceiling.

        There’s only so many TRUE first round talents each year. Drafting at the bottom each year makes the early round picks close to the same crapshoot as the middle rounds.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Personally, Oppenheimer did do a lousy job in 2007 and 2008, which the farm system is feeling as a result.

          A. The farm system is still one of the better systems in the game, 2007-2008 notwithstanding.
          B. Romine, Laird, Pope, Chase Weems (who turned into Hairston Jr.), David Adams, Brett Marshall, Mikey O’Brien, D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps, and Nik Turley all came from those years, so they’re not a total write-off (nor are Brackman or Bleich, for that matter) and Slade/Murphy should probably be assigned to 2008 anyway as those picks don’t exist if not for the Cole/Bittle non-signings.

          Romine/Laird/Brackman/Pope/Adams/Marshall/O’Brien/Mitchell/Phelps/Turley/Bleich/Slade/Murphy… that’s not bad for a supposedly bad two years.

          You’re overstating how “bad” 2007/2008 truly were.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            Slade/Murphy should probably be assigned to 2008 anyway as those picks don’t exist if not for the Cole/Bittle non-signings.

            Bat shit insane. For one, Cole is a worlds better prospect than any of these guys. Two, there’s nothing that wouldn’t suggest that these guys wouldn’t have fallen to the Yankees regardless. Slade wanted money and was a commit to a team that won the CWS that very year, and he had make up concerns. That’s a type of player that can fall. Murphy wasn’t any where near as highly touted when he was drafted as he is now. Your statement isn’t really true at all.

      • nathan

        Lets hope for the best.

      • Bryan

        It looks like the Yankees changed draft philosophies from 2010 – taking untouted raw HS athletes they feel have great potential to develop, and have the character to develop.

        Looking at 2007 – 2009, they were signing some ‘name’ prospects. What happened to Lassiter, Angelini, Suttle? In their A+ AA AAA teams, there’s a lot of underperforming players. The front office probably decided on a shift in strategy. I’m confident in it myself.

        Personally, Oppenheimer did do a lousy job in 2007 and 2008, which the farm system is feeling as a result. Sean Black, Caleb Cotham, Shane Greene, Sam Elam? They should be a reminder that college pitchers are just as risky as HS pitchers. Compare that to the scouting reports on De Luca, Mitchell, Gerritse. May as well sign the younger pitcher with a higher ceiling.

        There’s only so many TRUE first round talents each year. Drafting at the bottom each year makes the early round picks close to the same crapshoot as the middle rounds.

    • MikeD

      By most reviews, the 2010 draft was quite good. You’re confusing the overall success of a draft with the first-round pick.

      • nathan

        Yes the Cito Culver pick is still a shock, but that’s not the only reason fans are cribbing. Far be it for untrained fans to critique draft classes, my opinion is based on the overall rankings and ratings of some leading minds at BA, BP, Klaw. Ofcourse a great player can from anyone and lets hope there are some hidden gems in the system.

        • MikeD

          BA, BP and Klaw overall liked the Yankees draft. They weren’t a fan of drafting Culver with their number one. Klaw in one of his recent chats even cited Damon O. as one of the better talent men overseeing farm system drafting in the game.

    • jsbrendog

      cause mike piazza and albert pujols were drafted in the first round. and brian bullington and tod van poppel are hallof famers.

      yup, totally fucked.

      • nathan

        Yes, thats exactly what I said, if we don’t strike gold in the first 3 rounds we are doomed… perfect

      • Jimmy McNulty

        That’s hardly the example you’d like to follow. Yes, Mike Piazza and Albert Pujols were great late round picks, but you can find scores of guys that nobody heard of at draft time and sucked and scores of highly touted picks that worked out just fine. Yeah, the Cardinals won a World Series on the backs of Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver, hardly the plan you’d like to have going into October, though.

    • Dave

      Speak for yourself. “Underwhelmed” becuase BA didn’t overhype our players? How are you underwhelmed? Let’s be honest neither you or RAB has any clue about these players. The Yankees might have drafted four future HOFs. Or a bunch of nobodies. Who knows? Bichette has looked great so far.

      Yankee fans are so whiny.

  • the Oberamtmann

    This is a shot in the dark, but could some of it be an extra half-year of development time? Guys who sign around slot spend significant time in short-season ball while overslot guys who sign mid-August might not see any playing time at all. Doesn’t that take away a year of minor-league control?

    • Rick in Boston

      I believe that minor league free agency and Rule V eligibility revolve around draft year and not signing date, but I could be wrong.

      • CP

        Regardless of when they become minor league free agents or Rule 5 eligible, there is a full season of prime development time that can be gained by getting someone in the system on Jun 15th instead of August 15th.

  • Thomas

    Mike, what was your opinion of the 2007 draft at the time?

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

      I loved that draft at the time. Right now the only two guys they’re going to get out of it are Romine and Laird.

  • Preston

    We didn’t have a 1st round pick and we didn’t sign our second round pick because of an injury. In a normal year we would have spent the 1-2 million extra that you would expect us to. But just as I think we need to put money into our farm system I also don’t think we should spend 10 million dollars on unworthy players just because we can. So the larger complaint here is I wish we hadn’t signed Soriano and had a first rounder, and maybe we could have done more due diligence on Sam Stafford (which is hard to do given pre-draft constraints).

    • Jimmy McNulty

      The first sentence really suggests that you don’t understand the draft as much as you think you do. Talent is hardly linear and guys in the double digit rounds can get million dollar bonuses. Dellin Betances was an 8th rounder and got a million bucks, Austin Jackson, another 8th rounder, got a hug signing bonus. Just because you don’t have a first round pick doesn’t mean that you can’t get a high ceiling prospect that deserves a big bonus.

  • Reggie C.

    Picking a couple times in the first 90 picks don’t help the situation. After the Bichette pick, a ton of good high school names came off the board so that when the Stafford selection came around, most of the first round talent was off the board.

    Soriano signing killed the 2011 draft. The Cj Wilson signing might do the same to 2012 if he’s a type A.

    Just my two cents.

  • Jake H

    I think the problem is the lack of multiple 1st round picks. If you look at how much slot was compared to how much the Yankees spent for the first 10 rds they were the 5th highest total. Slot for each of those picks was 2,398,400 and they spent 4,202,500

  • Reggie C.

    Another observation… Josh Bell signing for five million as a 2nd rounder after his family insisted he was school bound will probably embolden teams to take risks on similar cases.

    Take note Cashman.

    • MikeD

      There are always players like that who claim one thing, do another. Zach Lee with the Dodgers last year.

      The Yankees tried it with Cole, but hopefully that doesn’t prevent them from trying it again. I find it hard to believe a failure will impact future drafts to that degree.

  • Mike Myers

    But brackman looks like such a nice guy….what could go wrong?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I’m just not sure if there are enough similarities or common threads between the 2007 draft experience (pay top dollar for stud prospects, watch them fail to amaze, 2008 draft experience (use top picks for stud prospects, watch them fail to sign on the dotted line) and 2009 draft experience (use unprotected picks on quality gambles and be forced to pay over market for them because they know you’re over a barrel) to draw any meaningful conclusions on how they would have affected the 2010 and 2011 classes.

    Each class is probably its own animal, for the most part. If there’s a semi-reliable narrative to be found, it’s probably not that any failures of 2007-2009 impacted the 2010 and 2011 decisionmaking, it’s that the 2007-2011 classes (and probably even back to the ’05 Henry/Cox/Gardner/AJax and ’06 IPK/Joba/ZMac/Betances/Melancon/McCutchen/DRob drafts as well) under Oppenheimer’s watch have always

    A.) prioritized a general mix of up-the-middle athleticism, catchers, pure bats, and a good mixture of fast-moving polished college arms and high-upside prep arms, and most of all, prioritized guys who have shown success in wood bat and/or northeast showcases/leagues
    B.) have been used year-to-year to correct depth anomalies that occur in the system (not at the big league level, just in the overall farm system). Namely, if the system is lacking in one of those above groupings come June, the team goes heavy to add multiple prospects at that position for that year
    C.) that the Yankees have their internal board and take their guys that they like on their board when they like them and don’t pay much attention to BA/Law/NESPN/external opinions

  • MannyB ace2be

    One thing I have never understood is why won’t the yanks go after and hire the development people from like the rays or royals organizations I know we have a stocked farm but the dev side seems lacking and boy I can’t imagine what this organization would be like with the financial backing for FA and a dev program that churns out as many quality players as the rays org

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      A.) Those development people from the Rays/Royals organizations may not want to actually leave those organizations. Shockingly, not every single person accepts your job offer, no matter who you are or how much money you have.
      B.) If we were to hire people from the Rays/Royals organizations, I hope they’ll have the common courtesy to bring along with them a decade’s worth of high draft picks and sandwich round selections. Having a much larger cupboard of selections makes finding “developable” talent a considerably easier job.

      And yes, that even means doing things like finding Jeremy Hellickson in the 4th and Matt Moore in the 8th. The Rays can do things like that because they already have numerous high picks in the bank at that point, it gives them more flexibility to gamble on the upside plays like those two that late.

  • JSquared

    Let’s talk about…

    Yu Darvish!!!… A Major League ready player in which the Yankees might be saving some extra cash from the IFA and Draft for. It doesn’t appear that many of the Big Market teams really have the money for him. (Red/White Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Philly, Mets, Milwaukee and the Angels all seem pretty tapped out) Appears that the Twins are the only team with MAJOR money coming off the books and maybe the Giants, Blue Jays or Rangers COULD pony up the money. Considering how much the Rangers and Blue Jays have spent on the Draft and IFA over the past two seasons they may want to keep that trend going.

    I am in no way saying that this is a smart move by the Yankees. I love hearing them sign a big time IFA and pray they take the most touted players in the draft. There’s nothing better than opening up the Minor League box scores and seeing names like Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, Manny Banuelos, Ravel Santana and Dellin Betances.

    Saving money when Yu Darvish will likely be on the market this year along with a lot of big names in 2013 (Matt Kemp Please!!RF!!)can’t be the worst thing they’ve done over the last 2 seasons…

  • kenthadley

    Let’s see what Cashman does this winter. If he bolts, then you might determine that the Yanks have purposely cut back on spending for the future, and may indeed be looking at selling out within a few years. If he stays, then it gives creedence to the thinking that spending in the draft has been a strategic decision to focus on more but lesser names. I think IFA spending has also diminished over the past few years. Cashman’s future landing spot will be a barometer of what’s really happening.

    • crawdaddie

      The Yankees were second in IFA spending last year. Also, the Yankees lately have done most of their IFA signings during the Fall months.

      • MikeD

        A valid point, and one I was going to note above. While the Rule Four Draft, and the international signings come, supposedly, from two different buckets within the Yankee organizataion, bottom line is they are used to accomplish the same thing: sign young players.

        The Yankees have more of an advantage on the international side in that they can target who they want and make them an offer. They may simply want to target more money toward that type of talent. It’s understandable on one level, yet my point is they can have their cake and eat it too. A few more million on the amateur draft would be money well spent.

        Overall the Yankees have done an excellent job in reviving the farm system. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reviewing what they can do even better.

    • Montero’s Agent

      Not sure why the family would want to sell the franchise. I can’t imagine a more profitable situation to be in.

  • Addison

    There is no question the draft will change starting in 2012.

    While slotting and bonuses are important, what to do with the International players is the biggest issue.

    Before he took the Mets’ GM job, Sandy Alderson was an assistant to the Commissioner’s office whose only real responsibility was laying the groundwork for International reform.

    He was successful in putting rules in place which penalize agents, players and teams for knowingly and willingly providing false or misleading information, up to and including prison.

    Personally, combining International players into the draft would work because there aren’t that many available, and there sure aren’t fifty rounds worth of quality players regardless.

    On a percentage basis, there is a far higher number of International basketball players coming to the NBA through the draft and it works fine for them, even with fewer rounds.

    I would like to see the trading of picks.

    I would like to see slotting if only because it prevents agents from saying and or doing what Scott Boras did last year with Bryce Harper, or what players like Anthony Renaudo did with the Red Sox.

    • MikeD

      And, really, what’s wrong with Bryce Harper getting a lot of money? His talent is so extreme, and the media interest he’s generated, means he will turn out to be a bargain for a number of years.

      An international draft coupled with hard slotting will further reduce MLB access to talent. Review what happen to Puerto Rico after incorporation into the amateur draft. MLB is weaker, baseball in Puerto Rico is weaker, the individual players are weaker.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      No to an international draft – the last thing baseball needs is for Latin America to turn into Puetro Rico.

      No to hard slotting – I would rather see these amateur talents get as close to fair value for their skills and talents as possible, given they’re already short on leverage (having only one team to negotiate with). No reason to put even more money in the pockets of billionaire owners.

  • AnthonyD

    Quasi off topic, but there are a lot of comments on here about Hal being a good businessman.

    What exactly is the rationale for that? Because the Yankees choose to leverage their financial muscle as poorly as possible? Because they are consistently overpaying for FA talent (i.e. bidding against themselves)? Because he inherited a printing press of a company? Because the new stadium is incredibly inefficiently priced and while it prints money, it could print more and be more filled?

    I hate that guy and his loud mouth spoiled brother.

    If I inherit a money tree tomorrow, take half of the leaves and light them on fire, I still have a great product that will continue to grow. That doesn’t make me a great farmer (or gardner or brett gardner or whatever).

    • Dave

      Someone needs a nap.

  • John

    Maybe the idea of getting a guy they like in to play a half season plays a role too. That’s a lot of development to be had with pro coaches instead of sitting on their couch not taking any chances they might get hurt.

  • Ted Nelson

    Come on… this is a conspiracy theory article… two drafts is not a trend. It’s too small a sample. It’s like A-Rod going 0-10 for two games and me declaring he’s done. You may be absolutely right, but at this time there is not enough evidence to support your theory.

    You’re also assuming they wouldn’t have given Stafford another $500K-1MM+ on top of what they spent on other prospects. And that they didn’t just win negotiating battles with guys they would have spent more to sign. You’re looking at a $2 mill difference like it’s more than it is. If the Yankees had the same class but spent $2-3 mill more to get the exact same guys signed… would that make you happier?

    A. I disagree with your take that not spending the most money late in the first means not getting the best prospects. Very early, sure. But once a Josh Bell (just as an example) has been passed on 50 times… it’s usually because he’s demanding obscene top 3 $ that does not match his talent level (signed for $5 mill).

    B. No team is going to consciously start the bidding for a guy above what he’s asking for… The Yankees might have taken both Culver and Bichette (and/or Gumbs, and/or Williams, and/or Stafford, and/or Bird, and/or Cote) perfectly willing to shell out $2+ mill to get them signed if that’s what it came down to… but them signing for less money is a good thing for the Yankees, not a bad thing.

    You are putting the cart ahead of the horse. The best prospects tend to get the most money, and work out better long-term. That does not mean that simply paying more money means you get better prospects. If the Yankees scouted both Bichette and more expensive options extensively (say Bell, Norris, etc.) and just thought Bichette was the better prospect or equivalent… should they have not drafted him because his demands were lower? Should they have spent $5 mill on Bell if they thought he was a similar level prospect to Bichette who signed for like 1/6 the price?

    C. When Culver was taken… Brackman was having his best season and you yourself were touting him as a future front-to-mid-rotation pitcher in the near future. So your theory really falls apart there. The Yankees didn’t draft, say, Castellanos because Brackman was “a bust” at a time when you were writing articles about how great Brackman was?

    I really think it’s just a case by case thing. Sometimes the Cole-type slips for you and you think he’s the best pick on the board. Sometimes you see that slight diamond in the rough you are more bullish on than others. Like the Yankees were with Joey Votto until the Reds took him before they had the chance… if the Reds don’t take Votto and he’s a Yankee right now I doubt you’re writing this article at all. Votto got a $600,000 signing bonus and the Yankees saw him as one of the best players on the board.

    There may be some strategy involved in feeling like there is a relative glut of talent around early, so you can get a similar talent while saving your money to go over slot later when there is less talent available… Again, this is not a bad thing.

    Finally… drafting is the most efficient way to add talent, until you start handing out obscene $4-5 mill bonuses to guys no one thought were really worth that money like Castellanos and Bell. Then it suddenly becomes the least efficient way to add talent. You are taking really, really long shots. Spending $5 mill per a prospect with maybe a 20% chance of making it is not necessarily a better strategy than spending $1 mill on a guy with maybe an 18% chance.
    Once everyone else is spending on the draft is not the time you want to start spending more on the draft. The higher demand is going to drive prices up to the point where they are not efficient. Think Warren Buffet. When the market zigs, you zag.

    • Dave

      Mike Axisa obsesses over the MLB draft and wants the Yankees to pay over slot on everyone, so expect more of these.