Gammons: Yankees bid $25-30M for Jorge Soler

6/18-6/20 Series Preview: Atlanta Braves
Remembering two notable Yanks' winning streaks

Via Peter Gammons, the Yankees bid $25-30M for 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. The Braves and White Sox also made similar offers, though Soler wound up signing a nine-year, $30M contract with the Cubs early last week.

I always underestimate free agent contracts but even $25M for what amounts to a Single-A prospect seems rather … excessive. It is just money, but we’re not talking about a player capable of stepping right in to help the big league club. The Yankees clearly liked Soler and made an aggressive bid, but as we heard the day he signed, Chicago was prepared to one-up any offer to make sure they got him.

6/18-6/20 Series Preview: Atlanta Braves
Remembering two notable Yanks' winning streaks
  • Robinson Tilapia

    I guess that, unlike the Cubs, they didn’t offer several opt-outs, keys to the executive washroom and, most importantly, oral.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Having known some girls that followed around a few Jets players when I was younger, I would image oral wasn’t the deal breaker. :-)

      • Cris Pengiucci

        image imagine

      • Thomas

        Do those girls have pictures of Brett Favre’s junk?

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Girls? I meant from Theo himself.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          Before his time.

  • Greg

    just goes to show how the CBA and the draft constrain money – even the prior CBA. Bryce Harper got $9.9M and this kid gets $30M? Could you imagine what Harper would have gotten if he was Cuban? $75M? $100M?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I got $80 million, and I don’t even play baseball.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        $80 Million or $80?

        • Cris Pengiucci

          And if that’s for doing what you say Theo is willing to do for Soler, $80 is a pretty steep price!

          • Robinson Tilapia

            What can I say? I’m Cuban. We’re genetically gifted that way.

            • Cris Pengiucci

              That and rolling cigars? :-)


  • http://none GrandyManCan

    He’s a Cub now. What could go wrong?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Comment of the…..year.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    It’s like those jack links beef jerky ads. Yanks can’t stop messing with theo.

    • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost


      For whatever reason I can’t get the thought out of my head that Cashman was trolling the hell out of Theo.

  • JohnC

    Theo determined to become the first exec in baseball to reverse 2 curses in the same century

    • RetroRob

      He does have eighty-eight years to fix the Cubs. He might need it.

  • RetroRob

    I wonder what would happen if two teams entered negotiations with “one-up” clauses. Would be be up to $1 billion dollars this week?

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    I don’t believe that the Cubs would “one-up any offer to make sure they got him.”

    What if the bidding went up to $100 million? I’m sure they had their limit set too

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Wow, I guess the amazing thing here is now it seems the Cubs did not Overpay (they paid market value.). That doesn’t mean this was a good deal or bad, just that it was what the market was setting. Unbelievable.

  • AP

    Any idea how many years the offer was for? I would be shocked if the Yanks offered nine years. Even with the opt-out, wouldn’t a contract for 6yrs/$25M be more appealing than 9yrs/$30M?

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    While it’s not my money, I can’t say I’m sad we didn’t pay $25mm for this guy. He’s all yours, Theo.

  • Rich in NJ

    As a result of the spending restrictions in the new CBA, I wouldn’t have been opposed to almost any reasonable amount that they decided to pay Soler, because if they were willing to go to approximately $30m, they obviously thought very highly of his talent, so another few million in order to get a deal done isn’t really that much. They have wasted a lot more on marginal, veteran free agents.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah, but if Hal had okay’d 30 million and the Cubs had gone to 32 or something, then what? The Cubs reportedly had every advantage there was in the bidding process for this guy. What’s the point in fighting that and going beyond what your scouts tell you his talent is worth?

    • Steve (different one)

      Maybe they think he is “worth” $25M and already pushed it to $30M to try to win the bid?

      Also, the devil is in the details. $30M with the ability to opt out is worth a lot more than, say, $25M and no opt outs. Keith Law thinks Soler will need 3 years in the minors. I have no idea, but let’s say its 2-3 years. He earns $10M over that time, then $10M his first 3 years in the bigs. If he’s good, he opts out and gets $20-25M over his next 3 years in arb. If he sucks, he earns the $10M. So, depending how good he is and how fast he gets to the bigs, his contract can be something like $45M for 6 MLB seasons. Which is still cheap if he’s a star, but if he’s not a star, it’s not all that great.

      I am guessing on some of these details, as we havent seen the contract yet, but my larger point stands: there are a lot of ways to play with the numbers that seem like the offers were close but maybe weren’t that close.

  • Kevin G.

    OK, respectable offer. I was worried that the Yankees didn’t even try and were going to pull another Darvish.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Here’s hoping “Pulling a Darvish” goes over about as well as “Sabby.”

  • Johnny O

    Kind of off-topic (but related to yanks bidding on Intl players) – you don’t hear too many people slamming Yanks for not getting Darvish anymore. He’s been good, but that 5 BB/9 is a bad sign and usually japanese pitchers have been worse after their 1st year in MLB. Even AJ Burnett kept it under 4 BB/9 the last two years.

    • Havok9120

      Holy crap. I hadn’t looked at any of his stats since April. That walk rate….and he hasn’t been getting tons of GBs or Ks to compensate. His K% is certainly above average, but not enough to make that walk% tolerable.

      I mean, he might be able to expect a downtick in BABIP, but still….

  • Betty Lizard

    Gulp. I should feel disappointed the Yankees didn’t get Soler, but I just feel relieved. I have no trouble dealing with unreal amounts of dollars thrown at known players, but somehow I’ll never feel good about throwing unreal amounts of money at unknowns.

    (Although I am a little sad about the lost pun opportunities with both Yu and Soler)

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    I would like to have taken an aggressive stance on this one. I’m normally the one that hates the Yankees spending too much money, or even “market value” money. But this is different. This was the last chance to spend without penalty and it was for a highly regarded outfielder prospect. This is a position that the Yankees desperately need in a couple of years, but more importantly, they need it as cheap as possible. If they did an 8 year $32M deal, it would have AAV’d at a measly $4M. He might have been a bust but the $32M was something they could have risked. They spent $40M on Pavano, $46M on Igawa, $300M on maybe $120M of value for ARod, etc. etc.. With all of the crazy contracts out there, this one seemed worth the risk all things considered. As for the Cubs, their farm system definitely needs refueling so it probably caused the relatively high bid.

    • Steve (different one)

      Pretty sure the Yankees did “take an aggressive stance”….aggressive doesn’t mean outbid at any cost.

      • Hardcore Yankee Fan

        When you’re the Yanks, taking an aggressive stance means EXACTLY that…outbidding everyone.

        Think about it, if you’re willing to go $25-30, then what we’re really saying is that $5-10 was the mere breaking point for them. Or in other words, about 2-3% of their annual payroll.

        • Havok9120

          No, they’re saying that 35-40 million (or nearly 20% of their annual MLB payroll) was too much. Its been established that the Cubs held all the cards here, including cards that allowed them to put an extra 3 million on the luxury tax without going over, something the Yanks cannot do, which becomes even more important with 189.

          I mean, even with the Cubs contract, you’re asking the Yankees to actually spend 4.5 million/year because of the tax. In what world is that worth it, especially when the budget is taken into account.

    • Ted Nelson

      You want them to spend as little on their OF as possible, so they should spend more money to do that? It’s $4 million per for a guy most people felt would start in A-ball… and it’s only $4 million if he’s not good. If he’s good, the deal goes to arb and it’s more than $4 mill.

      If you want to fill the roster cheaply… $4 million is literally what Jones, Ibanez, and Chavez are making this season combined.

  • Ro

    Last time Theo “out-smarted” Cashman, it cost him $142mm and the guy has only played about 7 games, so…

    Consider this noted.

    • Steve (different one)

      Iglesias, Matsuzaka, Tazawa…

      • Havok9120

        Not sure which argument you’re trying to support here.

        • Steve (different one)

          Can’t tell if you are replying to me or not, but I was just piling on more examples of IFA’s where people thought Theo outfoxed the Yanks and wound up with less. maybe not Iglesias as much, but definitely were plenty of Yankee fans upset about Crawford, matsuzaka, and tawaza.

          Theo’s track record on big ticket FA’s can be charitably described as a mixed bag at best.

  • Frank

    I have two problems with the way the Yankees do things these days:
    1) cashman appears to establish a value for a particular player based on what his scouts tell him a player is worth. That may work in a draft system where the player either signs or goes back to school, but in a free market system…the market dictates the players worth. I doubt they think soler is “worth” 25-30MM given that he would spend half that contract in the minors and may never produce at the major league level. His cost though is a product of the free market and by setting a preliminary “value” to a player, you limit your ability to participate within the system as that player is concerned. If I say I value Robinson cano as a 18MM player, then the market goes to 20MM for him…I either have to lose him or admit that my valuation was wrong and sign him anyway. I don’t like that they assign this arbitrary value. Saying you have a budget is different than assigning a “value”, which BC has done recently
    2) if he was worth 25-30, which is WAY more than the Yankees have ever paid for a kid that age…then they saw superstar potential. If thats the case, knowing you have aging vets in the lineup and that the process to acquire such talent again will be limited in the not so distant have to get this deal done. If they bid 27.5, the mid point of 25-30, then you lost him for less than a 10% premium. The first 27.5 is insane…don’t try to tell me another 2.25 is even crazier.

    • Steve (different one)

      All of this assumes the Cubs just give up when the Yanks go to $31M.

      At some point it has to stop.

      For all you know, the yanks “assigned” him a value of $20M and went to $30M to win, like you said.

      Basically, this is what your argument boils down to: the yankees should sign every player we want regardless of cost. That is what you are saying.

    • Havok9120

      And if their supposed 27.5 million dollar bid was already about 8 million more than they thought he was worth but they were willing to bend to market forces in order to buy the Soler lottery ticket?

      Market forces on gambles (and that’s what big FA contracts are, gambles) are not inherently correct. When the market dictates the value of a car, the market will be correct because the performance of that car is (or at least can be) well known. We know what we’re buying. Same goes for food, computers, roofing shingles, and gasoline. What’s more, if the product DOESN’T live up to the designed and guaranteed performance level, the consumer has protection. We can return the product for a refund or go to court.

      Buying players doesn’t work that way at all. You’re asking them to not only gamble by signing Soler, but you’re asking them to gamble using SOMEONE ELSE’S judgement as a baseline. That’d be like me giving you my checkbook and walking you over to a craps table and saying “whatever you think is best.” It would, in other words, be totally insane. This is especially true when the “market” that decided that Soler was worth this much money was actually only 3-5 teams. No one else thought 25-30 million was worth it.

      • Ted Nelson

        For any good prices will tend towards equilibrium, but that doesn’t mean they are always in equilibrium. That’s true whether it’s cars or baseball players or shingles. The price you introduce a product at might not be the market price, but if it’s too high the product won’t sell and if it’s too low the product will sell more than you anticipated… over time you see this and can adjust the price to reflect demand. Baseball players are discreet, one off products, though. Every transaction will have some marginal impact on market values going forward… but it’s subjective whether a talented 16 year old is the next Miguel Cabrera or the next Kelvin DeLeon.

    • Ted Nelson

      “in a free market system…the market dictates the players worth.”

      Not true. The market determines the price at the moment. Not the worth. HUGE difference. That doesn’t mean every buyer thinks it’s worth that. In fact, in an efficient market it actually means that only the buyer willing to pay the most thinks it’s worth that. No other buyer thinks it’s worth that in an efficient market.

      You’re spreading misinformation based on a faulty understanding of economics.

      The right way to do it is absolutely to determine what you think a player is worth. You shouldn’t pay more for a player than he is worth to you. Yes, you might lose that player then. Fine. There are other players. It is a problem if your valuations are so far out of line with the market that you can’t find players to sign… but that is clearly not the case here. The Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball.

      “The first 27.5 is insane…don’t try to tell me another 2.25 is even crazier.”

      Clearly they thought he was worth what they bid, but not what the Cubs bid. There isn’t one baseball player in the world. Think about buying a house at auction. There’s a point at which you stop bidding. “Sure, I like that house… but the one right down the street is a better deal.”

  • Frank

    Was typing on the train ride home on my phone, so maybe my point didn’t come across as clear as I wanted it to.

    Market dictates the price. If cashman states that there is a budget then I’m fine with that. But establishing a value for the player is too subjective. Especially since there really isn’t any value to a player at that age…,there is only potential. So, he can say I will only pay X for a player, but saying we only value him as a 30MM player is silly to me since he really doesn’t have any present day value and may never add any value whatsoever.

    My point on them outbidding everyone if they had already bid more than they have ever paid for a 20 year old was that they obviously felt he had superstar potential and given that they, unlike the cubs for instance, won’t be drafting in the top 10 anytime soon, this may be their last chance at a superstar youngster in the new system. Obviously, there are flaws in the system and they’ll still grab a stud here or there, but they’re the ones who bid 25-30, which tells me that they believe he has superstar potential or else they wouldn’t have done so.

    As far as thinking the Yankees should get anyone and everyone…not at all. But, I do think that if you see an investment that you feel has a high level of return in the future, and you can afford the risk in the downside, you make the move….within reason. And reason means…if you bid 25-30, and he goes for 30…you should have pushed it further.

    Yankees did the same thing with the darvish bidding. Why bid 15MM when you know you weren’t going to be in the ball park? To say..l only value him at 15MM and anything else is too much? Come on, they bid more than double on Matsuzaka and by all accounts darvish was more advanced and is younger.

    Just say you have a budget bc the stein brothers are not George. I can live with a budget but this “we’ll only sign guys if we get him at our price” thing is wearing thin with me. Target players and get them. You don’t need to target them all…but be aggressive with the ones you really want, and use your muscle on those guys…their bidding for soler shows they wanted him.

  • Fernando

    Hmm. There’s now another Cuban OF (Yasel Puig, 21 years old) aiming to sign before July 2, if he can establish residency in time.

    He’s considered more polished that Soler, but less polsihed that Cespedes. The guy has played 2 years in the top Cuban League (Serie Nacional). Could not find anything else on the guy.