Badler: Yankees sign Leonardo Molina for $1.4M

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Via Ben Badler: The Yankees have signed Dominican outfielder Leonardo Molina for $1.4M. He just turned 16 today, which is why they couldn’t sign him when the international signing period opened on July 2nd. The Yankees were said to be the “most likely landing spot” for Molina back in May. He isn’t related to the Puerto Rican catching trio.

Molina, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 165 lbs., was ranked as the fifth best international prospect by Baseball America a few weeks ago. In the subscriber-only scouting report, they say he is “an explosive, quick-twitch player” and “the most athletic prospect in Latin America.” Molina projects as a true center fielder with above-average speed and arm strength, though they say his right-handed swing “has some funkiness to it with a flat finish, but he seems to find a way to get the barrel to the ball.” Here’s video.

Between Molina and Yonauris Rodriguez (signed for $550k last month), the Yankees are $72,100 over their $1,877,900 international spending pool. The 3.2% excess results in a 75% tax on the overage ($54,075). If they go more than 5% over the pool, their spending next year will be limited. The Yankees could always trade for more spending money, however.

The Trade Deadline Of Our Discontent
RAB Live Chat
  • Nick

    I am already looking forward to your offseason Prospect write up

  • Mike Myers


    Some people projected him to be the best player in the long term…


    • trr

      It was theoried on an earlier thread that there are 2 Cashmans (Cashmen, if you will) one good, one evil. Here’s hoping this is the good Cashman at work.

  • CountryClub

    Josh Norris ?@jnorris427 1h
    Scout on Leonardo Molina: “Best athlete in the DR. Bernie Williams with a better arm.” #yankees

    • Wolfgang’s Fault

      Everyone’s got a better arm than Bernie. If Molina can’t hit, the “Best athlete in the DR” will look fine on his tombstone. Haven’t heard anything about Devers being a great athlete — just that he hits. Wonder who’ll make the better baseball player?

      • Preston

        Bernie could throw okay for about a week after every cortisone shot.

      • LK

        “Wonder who’ll make the better baseball player?”

        No one really has any idea.

    • Mister D

      And we’re supposed to be excited? Bernie isn’t even a Hall of Famer (and wouldn’t have been even with a better arm). Nice fuck up again, Cashman.

      • Bubba

        I… I… have no words.

        • Randy


          The Yankees would KILL to have anyone like Bernie Williams back in CF. Star CF for a dynasty.

      • Former ACE MannyGeee

        I am sensing sarcasm. I hope that’s sarcasm, or I might need to change my shorts.

        • Gonzo

          C’mon. That’s obvious sarcasm.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            We know but people always itch for a fight.

      • Mister D

        Says all we need to know that there was even debate, huh?

    • trr

      Dr. Bernie Williams….his mother is so proud!

  • SDB

    Must have been the ownership doing things again. #cashmanfailed

  • JLC 776


    • JobaWockeeZ

      What? The Yankees have done a good job of getting prospects. They suck at developing. As far as I know this 16 year old isn’t playing in the MLB next year.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Or are you referring to Cashman doesn’t get big targets like Puig or Darvish? Because that’s not even apples to oranges that’s like apples and a steak.

      • Dave1954

        Did you mean to say 10 years? Because you are correct, they are bad at developing players. Or maybe they are bad at projecting prospects!

      • Mac

        Or they haven’t had great luck. From the outside it is basically impossible to tell if the org is at fault in “developing” a prospect. We always want someone to blame when things don’t go as expected, but a whole lot in terms of prospect development is not in the team’s control. We’re also talking about a low success rate for every team where a couple of outcomes can swing the overall results wildly in one direction or another. If in 2 years the Yankees have developed, say, 3 MLB stars and a couple of contributors, suddenly they will have been incredible at developing prospects. Same team. Probably the same approach. A lot of luck.

  • nuge558

    his name is Molina and he doen’t catch?

    • Pseudoyanks

      Just put him back there, I bet he could do it.

      • Deathstroke Heathcott

        Despite being forced to play catcher in an emergency situation in the 9th, Leonardo Molina threw out 4 would-be basestealers to preserve the win for the Tampa Yankees.

  • JLC 776

    Seriously, though. Happy Birthday (16 today) to Leonardo!

    If I had gotten $1.4M the day I turned 16, I would have been a huge, huge fuck up at life. I can’t wait to watch this guy grow!

    • Pseudoyanks

      That’s so cool, he shares a birthday with Jerry Garcia!

  • Chris Z.

    “. If they go more than 5% over the pool, their spending next year will be limited. The Yankees could always trade for more spending money, however.”

    Or they could just spend whatever they want and pay the dam penalty. What is this the New York Marlins all of a sudden?

    • RetroRob

      I believe if they go over enough they lose all ability to draft next year.

      I wonder if there is a strategy to just ignore the rules and go in big, big time in one year’s draft, take all the best players, and then ignore the next year. Go for major quality every two years, as opposed to limited pick-ups every year.

      • radnom

        If this was their strategy, they should have started last year. When the new rules were announced but not in place yet.

      • JLC 776

        That would be great just to see how the whole world vilifies the Yankees even more!

        I’m sure Buck Showalter would whine some more and write a sternly worded letter to USA Today.

    • Il Cugino

      The owners voted for this system. Why would they let Cashman go against it?

      • RetroRob

        I don’t think the owners did vote for these changes. There seemed to be quite a bit of complaining from both big and small-market teams. The owners voted for Selig, who basically pushed all the CBA changes through.

        • Il Cugino

          You are wrong. Research the topic. The Steinbrenners were all for the draft and IFA changes much to Cashman’s chagrin.

        • JMK

          I think there are different tiers. So if they go X amount over, they can’t sign players to bonuses exceeding $250,000. If it’s significantly higher (I don’t recall the figures), they lose the ability to sign next year.

          I wonder if it’s a better strategy to just go ape shit every other year.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      The financial penalty isn’t the problem.
      The not being able to sign anyone to a bonus over $500K (or $250K, depending on how far over they go) next year that is the problem with exceeding the cap by more than 5%.

  • Kevin G.

    Call him up now. I want to see a kid who can’t even drive yet play in the majors.

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      That would be WILD. If I was a GM on my last legs I would totally do this, just to watch the Interwebs explode. like BOOM

  • Chiggie

    Reminds me a lot or BJ Upton mechanically.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Cashman failed. Dude’s not even Cuban.

    • Dalek Jeter


    • Pseudoyanks

      Cuba Libre.

    • BFDeal

      Dammit, you beat me to it.

  • EndlessJose

    See you in 2020 like the rest of our prospects.

  • Robert

    Don’t get too excited given the track record of our minor league system.Given the way we are advancing players in our minor league system maybe the kid gets there in 2022,hey he will only be 25…
    Z. Almonte signed in 2005 Bronx 2013
    M.Mesa signed in 2005 Bronx 2012
    Gary Sanchez 2009 still in A ball 2013

    • Dalek Jeter

      Mesa and Almonte were fringe prospects, and wasn’t Sanchez signed at like 17?

      • RetroRob


        Kids this young are years away and that’s normal, even for elite ones.

        Bernie Williams was signed at 16, made his first pro-ball games at 17, played for six seasons in the minors before making the majors, then was sent back down for his seventh season before sticking. It then took him a couple more years before he became a really good player, almost a decade after he was signed.

        And that’s all pretty normal for players this age.

        • Bo Knows

          Or if the tools translate faster than people think he could be in the league faster, you never know. Usually guys that are walking toolsheds, have patience issues, if he shows a discerning eye early to go along with the translation of the tools, he could move quick. We don’t know, but it’s always interesting to watch.

          • RetroRob

            No doubt, they could translate faster. I’m not saying all 16-year-old signs are on the Bernie path, and that cuts both ways. Most won’t make it and even a smaller percentage will ever approach Bernie’s career. That is the point. He built a borderline HOF career and it took seven seasons in the minors because he was so young at signing.

            Other players, who even turn out to be lesser players than Bernie, could make is sooner, but probably not by much. Bernie first swung a bat in the majors at 22, so even shaving a year off that places this kid far off in the future.

            Nothing wrong with that. Some players will arrive quicker than others based on age and experience. He’s just another cog in the minors.

      • Rick in Philly

        Sanchez was, like 16.5 when he signed. He has a December 1992 birthday and didn’t sign until July 2, 2009. He was 17 when he debuted the next year in the GCL.

    • LK

      Yeah, if you’re not willing to wait years for guys to arrive, this whole “following prospects” thing just isn’t for you.

      • Mac

        Especially following 16 year old IFAs.

    • Bo Knows

      You know Sanchez is a catcher right? Those guys have different time tables also Sanchez is only 20 is most likely going to be in Trenton either at the end of this year or early next year.

    • Former ACE MannyGeee

      They can’t all be Manny Machado, you know.

      • RetroRob

        Machado is the Orioles Jeter. An elite player a team gets to sign because they sucked so bad they picked near the top of the amateur draft.

        Excellent players are available in later rounds, but identfying them with certainty becomes more iffy.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Nothing is ever good enough.

  • Mads

    Does anyone know where Molina will start? GCL? DSL?

    • Bryan

      Probably DSL this season and then move to GCL next year.

      Although since he just turned 16, they might hold him back until 15 to bring him stateside.

  • Bo Knows

    They now have a pitcher named Rafael, a CF named Leonardo

    All they need is a couple of immensely talented guys named Donatello and Michelangelo

    • Pseudoyanks

      Haha, I think I get this…Those are the names of the Power Rangers, right?


      • JobaWockeeZ

        The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles..

  • Brian Brokeman

    The asking price for Shredder was too high

    • YankeeTX

      What about Master “Splinter” as pitching coach ?

      • Bo Knows

        Pretty sure that’s Mo

    • mcgatman

      Shredder? Wasn’t that Nardi Contreras’s nickname?

  • Brian in MA

    see you in 2019 Mr. Molina

  • Bavarian Yankee

    wasn’t somewhere mentioned that you can’t trade for more international signing pool money once you used a certain % of your own money? I’m sure I’ve read something (or something similar) about this before.

  • sonchow

    He is 16 years old! With the way he throws the ball he will be getting Tommy John surgery within 18 months…and probably 3 more times before he is 25.

  • Johnny Law

    I think your math is wrong…
    $97,100 is 5.1% more than $1,877,900

  • Duh Injuries

    $5M plus on players who won’t be MLB-ready next year or possibly 2015 (Eric Jagielo) or 2016 (Aaron Judge, Leonardo Molina)…SMH.

    I mean if you don’t have ANYONE in your current farm system who could step into an everyday non-pitcher position next season WTF is the point spending tons of money on kids?

    Will Zoilo Almonte and/or Ronnier Mustelier be in the 2014 Yankees everyday lineup? I doubt Mustelier will be since he has no power. Where would Almonte play assuming the outfield is Soriano in left, Gardner in center, and Suzuki in right? Would the Yanks trade Suzuki to make room for Almonte? If Granderson comes back for the qualifying offer, there would definitely be no room for Almonte in the starting nine.

    • Mac

      What do the guys in the high minors have to do with bringing in new amateur talent?

      Murphy could certainly be an MLB ready, above average starter in 2014 (could). Other guys with varying levels of potential to be starters or above average include Almonte, Adams, Joseph, Romine, Austin, Slade, Garcia, and Mustelier. There’s both good upside (Murphy, Austin and Slade mostly) and good depth among that group.

      • Mac

        Look around the league and see how many teams have much more than that on-line for 2014.