On Cespedes and Soler

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It’s been more than two months since Yoenis Cespedes burst onto our radar with the first of his two highlight videos, and we’re all impatiently waiting for him to be declared a free agent. That’s expected to happen sometime this month, and in an effort to boost his stock, the outfielder will play winter ball in the Dominican Republic according to Kevin Goldstein and Enrique Rojas. He’ll make his debut tonight, and this will allow teams to see him in actual game situations rather than a bunch of workouts.

We know the Yankees have some level of interest in Cespedes, after all you can see bench coach Tony Pena and pro scouting director Billy Eppler watching his workout at the 4:17 mark of the second video. However, lost among the Yu Darvish hoopla last month was a report from Marc Carig indicating that the Yankees are likely to pass on the outfielder’s services. He says they came away from the workout thinking he can be an everyday center fielder, but again price appears to be an issue. Cespedes was reported seeking an eight-year deal worth upwards of $60M earlier this winter.

Cespedes is not the only Cuban outfielder on the market though. There’s also 19-year-old Jorge Soler, another player who has grabbed the Yankees’ attention. Here’s what Jim Callis said about the kid a month ago (no subs. req’d) …

Six-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center. Because of his youth, he’ll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait.


Soler is four years younger and more talented than Leonys Martin, another Cuban outfielder who signed a $15.6 million major league contract with the Rangers in April. Once Soler is cleared to sign with a major league team, he’s expected to top Martin’s deal.

A year ago John Manuel quoted a scout who said he has “explosive power,” and Callis said he would have been a top five pick had he been eligible for the 2010 draft. As far as I know there isn’t any video of him publicly available, so this is basically all we know about the kid. It’s not much less than we know about Cespedes, frankly.

The spending cap implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t take effect until July 2nd, so Soler will be able to sign for whatever he wants before then. Cespedes is not subject to the cap because of his age, so he can sign for whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I’m not totally in love with the idea of signing the guy though, but I am intrigued by Soler since he’s so young. Assuming the reports are legit and he has that kind of talent, getting him into the farm system at that age and allowing him develop normally can have some very real benefits, even if they have to wait a few more years for the return.

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  • MannyGeee

    the obvious lack of YouTube videos and Spandex will hurt Soler’s bottom line.

    • Soriano Is A Liar

      Lack of a friendship with former NFL Ahman Green.

      • Slugger27

        what did soriano lie about???

        • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

          which Soriano

          • Slugger27

            i dont know, i’m assuming rafael. it’s his handle, so only he knows. i’m just wondering what the lie was.

            • BK2ATL

              I think it’s just a joke about him (Soriano) opting out. An extension of his “CC is a liar” mock tag during the opt-out/extension talks before the FA market went live. If you were reading the board at that time, it was nuts around here.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher


    Wanting more young outfielders coming up through the system may make Soler a worthy, but somewhat expensive, roll of the dice. YouTube Boy will have to come back to earth with his demands if the Yankees were to seriously consider him, I think.

  • Robert

    A line up of Soler and Montero could be unstoppable.

    • 27 Rings

      It’s a bit premature to say that. Soler is literally years away.

      Though $60M over 8 years is very reasonable for an average CF. The question is whether Cepedes is even that. He wouldn’t be playing this winter if one teams were willing to give it to him.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Or average. Or terrible.

      • Sayid J.


  • BK2ATL

    I’d definitely pass on Cespedes at that price. However, if his price drops and they think that within a year in the minors he’d be ready to assume everyday RF duties from Swisher, I’d certainly entertain at the 6 yrs, $30 million range.

    Ideally for me, though, they would go after Soler at maybe 6 yrs/$18-21 million. If Soler lives up to 60-75% of his scouting report, he trumps all that we currently have in-house from a prospect perspective.

    Mason Williams is years away from being an upper-level MiLB contributor, and the Yankees’ upper-level OF is pretty barren of prospects. Heathcott can’t stay healthy in order to dispel that notion.

  • Preston

    Since we know that we won’t be able to use our money to dominate the Latin market in future years it seems like a good idea to make a big splurge this year. Jorge Soler is expensive but we aren’t ever going to get the chance to outbid teams for these types of talents in the future.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    All in for Soler.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I have not seen the kid play, but if he has all those attributes as reported here, he should be sought after. I like Cespedes but his price has apparently gone too high. If his price goes to say 30M for six years, I would be all for it.

  • Short Porch

    Great post from NoMaas that cleared up my confusion on why the Yankees couldn’t go after Darvish and Cepedes/Soler:


    The goal for the Yankees should always be to get better and younger because free agents are usually worse and older. This off-season they could have and now I know why they didn’t.

    • KL

      People still read NoMaas? Is it 2008?

      • Short Porch

        Why wouldn’t they? The guys at NoMaas are as passionate and as knowledgeable as any other bloggers. Plus, they occasionally get Newman on record.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

          While your overall assessment of their writers might be accurate, this particular piece was a throwaway. All it did was take incomplete revenue information and draw conclusions from it. We have no idea what the Yankees books are like. To draw conclusions, then, is simply foolish.

          • Short Porch

            No idea? We know what they charge for tickets. We know how many tickets they sell. We know they own 1/3 of the best rated local sports channel in the country. Just taking that public knowledge into account gets us close to the NoMaas/Forbes estimates.

            You’re free to calculate the figures however you see fit. It’s hard me me to see how they are not making a lot of dough.

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

              Of course they’re making a lot of money. But what are their expenses and how much debt are they carrying? Those are two gigantic unknowns.

              • Short Porch

                You’re right on those unknowns. But then those are the same unknowns that companies use very well to hide profits.

                Can you do a post about this? Perhaps the collective wisdom of this crowd can shed more light. Why shouldn’t I trust Forbes?

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

                  Sure, we could do that once the offseason is actually over.

                • Ted Nelson

                  No one said that you shouldn’t trust Forbes. You’re building a strawman out of the opposition’s argument.

                  What that article misses is
                  1. The costs. Revenue is only half the story. Detroit is literally falling apart. Operating a business in NY is more expensive than Detroit.
                  2. The question is whether or not the Yankees should be paying for these players. Cheap and value-conscious are two sides of the same coin. If they really think that Noesi is about as good as Darvish… is might be a terrible waste of resources to pay for Darvish when they

                  The article is garbage, IMO.

                  They are factually wrong that Montero is the only young bat… Nunez is also theoretically ascending the curve. Even if the offense declines, it will still be really good. What position does the author want them to add a young player at? They’re returning an offense that was 8 Rs short of being the best in baseball… with Montero replacing Posada…
                  If they add Yoenis and/or Soler this point will be irrelevant anyway.

                  The author literally says that they could have inked Jose Reyes… but why is Reyes going to sign to be a utilityman in NY, rather than a star in Florida????

                  They could have inked Pujols… to play where?

                  Finally… the Yankees are a for-profit business. This is not a charity. Their goal is to make money. I think that there’s a real argument that teams given monopoly power should be non-profits… but that’s not how it is.

                  Honestly, that was the worst article I can ever recall reading in my life.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

              But the only expense we know is payroll. Until you know all of their expenses, you can’t reasonably assume net income.

              • Short Porch

                Do we really need to know all of their expenses? We can hazard a decent guess on many of them. Don’t you think the people at Forbes, of all publications, are capable of fairly educated guesses? Why should we distrust Forbes?

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                  Again, not distrusting Forbes. I’m saying that the only expense Forbes counts is payroll. There’s no accounting for expenses beyond that. We don’t know, for example, what they pay out to limited partners. Without those numbers it’s hard to figure out where their money is going.

                  • Plank

                    I think a lot of people have problems with diverting profits to ownership instead of improving the team.

                    The information isn’t as unknowable as people make it seem.

                    Here’s some known expenses:

                    Payroll – about 210MM
                    Stadium – 64MM (minus 1/3 discount toward revenue sharing)
                    Minor League Operations – 10-15MM (Average cost to teams)
                    Draft and IFA signings – I don’t know, but I’m sure someone could add it up
                    Player Benefits etc – Paid by league wide revenue, but about 10MM
                    Taxes – I don’t know, but no taxes on stadium and I presume no city taxes. Any accountants have an educated guess?
                    Revenue Sharing/Luxury Tax – 130MM
                    Front Office Salaries – I have no idea, but I would presume only a handful of non-owners draw a millionaire salary. And another, slightly bigger handful draw a 6 figure salary. FO baseball jobs are infamously low paying.
                    Debt payments (non stadium) – I have no idea, I presume the family had to finance part of George’s estate tax payment.

                    What are the other expenses?

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

                      Charitable donations (which actually save the team money since they’re tax write-offs), the luxury tax, marketing and promotion, long-term savings…

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                      The biggest one is payments to limited partners. There’s also the electric bill and all other utilities, which I would think would be pretty substantial for a place such as Yankee Stadium.

                    • Plank

                      Interesting read:


                      These calculations also never seem to take in to account that team value rising is similar to profit for ownership. If the team operates at no profit or loss but the team value goes from 1.6BB to 1.7BB, did they make 100MM or did they make no money? I would say they made money, most analysis of sports profits ignore that aspect.

                    • Plank

                      Thanks for the feedback. From all this, I’m comfortable saying the Yankees turn a fairly healthy profit.

                    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                      As they should. They are a private, for-profit business and therefore should reap the rewards that go along with that type of venture.

                    • Plank

                      I know every team (and every company) does it (or wants to do it) but I have a big problem with profitable companies getting that much taxpayer money.

                      I have no problem with the Steinbrenners making huge profits, I have a problem with them making huge profits by getting subsidies and special favors by lobbying every level of government to do so.

                      But, whatever, that’s not what this is about.

                    • jason

                      in response to Mike at 6:27pm – charity doesn’t “save” money since the related tax deduction’s value is a only portion of the donation (based on the donor’s effective tax rate) and not all may be deductible in a single year. But, hey, they’re the ones writing it off.


    • Slugger27

      seems like a lot of speculation to me, with no proof of virtually anything.

      none of those guys know for sure what the finances of the team look like

      • Short Porch

        I don’t know. I trust Forbes, of all publications, to have proof of something.

        That will be my last word. While tangential to Cepedes/Soler it borders on off-topic. Maybe if the RAB guys see fit we’ll discuss this question more fully. This off-season demands this scrutiny.

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s speculation that they don’t want to spend because they’re cheap… rather than because they don’t see value in paying what it would cost to get these guys…

    • Ted Nelson

      Think that was probably the worst article I have ever read…

      • FIPster Doofus

        Indeed. Awful.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Just read it. What a complete waste of bandwidth. I can’t believe fans who watch the same games I do buy that garbage.

  • John Ya Ya

    Do they have the same issues with age fraud in Cuba as they do in other parts of Latin America? It would suck if Soler turned out to be a 28 y.o. named Bob Jones or something.

    That being said, I would take a pass on Cespedes. I just see too much risk in overpaying for another AAAA player.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      There has been a fair amount of comment on age issues. Seems Cuba doesn’t keep accurate birth records, so it may be extremely difficult to validate someone’s age. I have to imagine that it’s a bit easier to determine someone’s true identlty though (only my speculation). With Cespedes claiming he’s 26 (I believe), I’d be very hesitant to offer an 8 year contract. Then again, that’s what he’s looking for, not what the market will offer. We’ll find that out to some extent when he becomes a FA. The Yankees do seem to think that he could be a solid contriutor, though, so maybe they make what they consider a fair offer and if he accepts, they have some flexibility in the OF next year and beyond. Seems as though most people believe they’ve moved on to Soler is getting more attention, though. I guess they feel his age, if not his skill set, is an advantage.

    • BK2ATL

      19 would be a helluva disguise from 28 yo. The body type and definition would’ve already made scouts have pause.

      But then again, there’s Greg Oden, who’s 25, but looks 45, and that Leo Nunez character…..

  • Monteroisdinero

    Every time I see Cespedes’ name I think of Orlando “Cha Cha” Cepeda. He’s 74 now. :-(

    Time for a Montero/ARod Miami workout update!

    • BK2ATL

      You do find a way to work Montero’s name into any convo. Hahaha!!!

      But seriously, if Montero’s working out with A-Rod, we could only hope the results are similar to what Melky put up in 2011.

  • dan gen

    we r a small market team we can only afford players that are inexpensive like mitre…so what if he is awful….