Badler: Yankees targeting four $2M+ int’l players


Back in the fall, we first heard the Yankees are planning to blow past their international spending pool when this summer’s signing period opens on July 2nd. They’re said to be ready to spend upwards of $15M on bonuses despite being slotted for only $2.2M. They would pay another $15M or so in taxes and lose the right to sign a player for more than $300k in the next two signings periods.

Now, thanks to Ben Badler, we finally have some details on the specific players the Yankees are targeting. It’s a subscriber-only article, so I can’t give away too much, but here are the important details:

  • OF Juan De Leon: “premium bat speed from the right side of the plate … potential for plus power in the future” (video above)
  • SS Dermis Garcia: “some of the best raw power in the 2014 class” (video)
  • 3B Nelson Gomez: “has shown plus raw power … has an above-average arm and good hands” (video)
  • SS Christopher Torres: “switch-hitter who projects to stick at short” (no video)

All four players are 16 years old and from the Dominican Republic. Badler says they are all expected to command $2M or so bonuses, though Garcia could wind up with $3M. There are also some scouts who question whether Torres is really worth that much money. De Leon is said to be the team’s “top priority.”

Assuming the Yankees do sign those four players to roughly $9M in bonuses, they’d still have another $6M to spend before hitting that rumored $15M number. I would expect a chunk of that to go towards pitching. The Rays, Red Sox, and Brewers are planning similar spending sprees according to Badler, though not to the same extent as New York.

The Yankees have been very good at finding cheaper international prospects like RHP Luis Severino ($225k), SS Abi Avelino ($300k), and SS Thairo Estrada ($49k), so the $300k limit over the next two years won’t completely derail their international operation. Besides, there’s a decent chance MLB will implement an international draft soon. This might be the team’s last chance to spend like crazy.

  • The Bronx Empire

    Kiley McDaniel had all this back in February

    • RetroRob

      I’m pretty sure he is the one who broke it, if I remember Mike’s original story on this. It is interesting that Ben Badler is reporting something that Kiley did five months back. If his original story is to be believed, the Yankees pretty much already have deals in place. I’m pretty sure Kiley worked for the Yankees at one point, so he no doubt has good connections.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Dance to the beat of the livin’ dead
    Lose sleep baby and stay away from bed
    Raw power is sure to come a-runnin’ to you

    If you’re alone and you got the feel
    So am I baby let’s move on out of here
    Raw power is sure to come a-runnin’ to you

    Raw power got a magic touch
    Raw power is a much too much
    Happiness is guaranteed
    It was made for you and me

    Raw power honey just won’t quit
    Raw power I can feel it
    Raw power hear it, can’t be beat
    Poppin’ eyes and fast and young feel

    • Dalek Jeter

      Jorge is Bored.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Jorge hopes that impressed vicki.

    • Coolerking101

      All hail Iggy.

  • LK

    The more thought I give this, the more I love this strategy. Hopefully they can get 2 stud pitching prospects with that remaining ~6M or so. 6 awesome international prospects would be quite a haul and would more than justify the restrictions the next 2 IFA periods in my opinion, even before considering that an international draft might make those restrictions moot anyway.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. And if an international draft really is right around the corner, I really hope the Yankees can stock up now. Six legit prospects added to the system would be quite a coup. I realize that these at 16 year old kids that won’t even come stateside for a couple of years, but still.

  • Dalek Jeter

    How would an international draft work? What about guys like Cespedes or Aceves who are in their mid/late 20s? Would they be required to be drafted? Would the int’l draft be intergrated with the amatuer draft? This just seems like a terrible idea.

    • LK

      It probably is a terrible idea, but that’s never stopped them before.

    • jjyank

      Oh I’m sure MLB is going to botch the hell out of an international draft. As far as the age thing goes, I have to imagine they’ll be a cut off point where guys would just be true free agents. Maybe 23 and older, since 22 would still be college age for a lot of seniors?

  • John C

    Wonder if Yanks are also in on Huascar Ynoa, the top arm available in this year’s JUly 2 class and Michael’s younger brother

  • AnthonyD

    How many of the huge money IFA have turned into above average regulars or even top shelf prospects? There’s a pretty strong correlation bw top picks and MLB success in the draft (obviously) – is the correlation anywhere close w $$ spent on 16 year olds?

    • bpdelia

      It used to be less of a sure thing but now the top guys become top prospects more often. Just look at the IFA guys who were highly touted recently. Montero, sanchez, sano. You can find players and stars for cheap but the top tier guys appear to be top tier prospects. Especially now that the age thing is better regulated. Generally speaking the top tier guys hit at a better rate than the low tier guys. Before you couldn’t be certain if the kids was 15 or 18. That changes everything since projection is so important on this. But yeah. The big time Latin prospects were almost all high bonus guys.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    Clearly our scouts are big fans of these guys. Can’t dislike the notion of adding to the system.

    Of course at 16 years old all of these guys are about as far away from The Show as prospects get.

    I guess I’m looking forward to their low-A debuts in a few years? Gotta start somewhere.

  • John Cee

    Since they’re routinely saddled with poor draft slots or no 1st round draft picks due to FA signings, the yanks should have employed this strategy for years.
    Puig, Cespedes, Darvish…the yanks really dropped the ball. Their only true strength is $$$ resulting from monopolistic MLB privileges. Who cares what the opposition thinks? Spend and win.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Eh, I mean I definitely wish they had Puig or Darvish, but the Darvish thing seems to have been wiped away by the Tanaka signing (though both in the rotation would be AMAZING). Cepedes on the other hand, good player, but I’m not losing sleep over missing out on him. Like I said he’s been good but he definitely has failed to live up the hype. (Huge power, but he had a sub .300 OBP last season)

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Every other team in baseball, other than the team who signed those players, “dropped the ball.”

      • LK

        Well, with Darvish he was massively expensive, so not every team could afford him, and the posting fee (roughly half the total outlay) doesn’t count against luxury tax, which is really only a concern for the Yanks, and now the Dodgers. So in that case I think you can say NYY blew it more than other teams did. They appear to have learned their lesson given the Tanaka signing.

        Cespedes hasn’t been that great, though, and yeah 29 teams should regret not signing Puig.

        • Dalek Jeter

          But Puig’s a hotdog and a cancer!


        • John Cee

          Exactly, LK. Most teams need to pinch pennies or think they should pinch pennies. The Yankees are a cash cow that makes money by essentially being the Yankees, ie fielding an All-Star team.

          Tanaka only wipes out the Yanks ludicrous fear of Japanese pitchers. Darvish was a painful miss by the Yanks as was Puig. Both players have skill-sets that all teams highly value.

          I view Cespedes as a miss, also. It’s tough to have 5 or 6 Win players at every position. Cespedes has a productive bat that drives his value and it’s painfully obvious the Yanks could use some more O.

          Further, the Yanks should always try to corner the market as much as they can with top talent. Make other teams come to you to fill their needs. Teams like Atlanta or Oakland can do this through the draft, a system that has been rigged against the Yanks. For years the Yanks should have been doing this with $$$, instead.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            That’s not really what his reply to you said.

            The Yankees have a ludicrous fear of Japanese pitchers? They signed Hideki Irabu. For better of worse, they signed Kei Igawa. They signed Hiroki Kuroda as a free agent. Perhaps “ludicrous” means something different where you live. It may be a regional thing.

            The New York Yankees are not exempt from struggling. They’ve struggled before, and they’ll struggle MUCH more than this again, cash advantage or not.

            Other than that, feel free to continue with “The Yankees have the most money and should feel an All-Star team always except that the league has rigged everything against them.” It’s a winning narrative.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Should FIELD, and there should have been an “always” in there as well.

              Smartphones have killed society as we know it.

            • John Cee


              My mistake for a lack of specificity: Ludicrous fear of Japanese pitchers post Kei Igawa. They made a token offer at best for Darvish and let Iwakuma and Kuroda pass by with no offer if I recall correctly. A team in constant search of pitching let plus talent go by while barely making an offer. “Ludicrous” describes their inactivity just fine.

              Their financial resources should prevent any extended rough stretches and should do more than maintain mediocrity to plus mediocrity.

              Other than that, feel free to drop by and offer up some Stooges lyrics anytime. It’s a winning effort.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Hiroki Kuroda currently plays for the New York Yankees. He has for 2 1/2 seasons now. Perhaps you wanted him earlier than that. He’s here now.

                They valued Darvish differently at the time than you did. They didn’t get him. It happens. If you’d like to pick open that wound again, go ahead.

                If it’s your opinion that “ludicrous” fits not doing what you would have done with two pitchers, then “ludicrous” away.

                Their financial resources didn’t stop them from going 18 years without winning a championship. Perhaps that happened before you were born. Perhaps you forgot. You can look it up if you’d like. The Yankees aren’t exempt from a damn thing.

                This, folks, is what an actual Pollyanna looks like.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      Much like this offseason, it is occasionally fun to watch them embrace the Evil Empire role.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I personally love the idea, but how can anybody project what a 16 year old is going to be as a major leaguer? I mean shit, my body has completely changed in the past 8 years.

    • TWTR

      You can’t, but since the Yankees have money to burn and too many older players, any time they want to burn money on younger players with upside as opposed to older players whose best days may be behind them, I’m supportive.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Gotta start somewhere, and this has always been a good market to corner when drafting hasn’t gone as well.

    • LK

      Yeah, if they sign 6 big money IFAs, probably half of them won’t make the bigs. Shit, half of them might not make AA. But, if these guys were certain stars, they’d cost $200M instead of $2M.

  • dhioo

    Why continuously leak plans to spend this much and who you’re targeting? You’d think that that would only drive the price up or encourage other teams to use the same strategy.

    • Wolfgang’s Fault


    • LK

      You could very well be right. On the other hand, if you know a team with a ton of money that doesn’t care about the spending limit is targeting a guy, maybe you don’t even bother trying and so he ends up being cheaper. I’m not sure there’s a clearly correct answer here.

    • Yanks

      These deals have even done forever basically, this won’t change anything. These were reported months ago and they’ve probably had handshake deals for a while

  • Michahiro Pinaka

    Hell, go for it and sign everything that’s not nailed down in Latin America and Korea.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    I can hear the Sterling home run calls already.

    “De Leon…de-lays into one!”

    “Dermis really SKINNED that one!”

    • pinch hitter

      Please tell me Sterling will long gone by the time these guys make it to the majors.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Well done.

  • Dick M

    Cuz I’m the CASH-man ……. yeah, I’m the CASH-man.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner


  • Bryan

    The one players full name is Juan Claudio De Leon. That is an 80 tool name. Stoked for this.

    • pat

      Dude’s gonna hit dingers then make sweet passionate love to our women.

  • Wolfgang’s Fault

    Giving any of these kids $2-3M is just asking for trouble. That said, I like what I see in the 3b Nelson Gomez looks like he’s got some pop. Juan “Claudio” de Leon better have some pop ’cause he sure doesn’t have much of an arm. Lots of great bp hitters in this world. The games separate the wheat from the Chaff.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      How is it asking for trouble? They’ve done it before. Where did it cause them trouble then?

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        Giving any 16 year old kid $2-3M is problematic, but I’ve gotta think it’s particularly challenging for 16 year old kids who’ve never had any real dough in their lives to suddenly come into a considerable windfall, have the entire world & their local financially modest communities know about it, and make wise decisions regarding it, their “associates”, & their hoped for careers. I don’t even know if these kids graduated high school yet. That’s a lot of dough & expectations for a lot of people with very little understanding of how the world works. I think it would be helpful if those deals were written so that these prospects come into that money when they reach an older age. Upon signing, they get 10-15% of the value of their signing deals, & when they hit hit — say 21+, they get the bulk of it accruing interest in some banking account somewhere. At least then, they get the time to understand what that money can and cannot do for them, they keep their focus on growing up and developing their ability & skills, and they’re all hopefully wise enough when they do get the bulk of the money to use it constructively. Obviously, some young people will handle the money & notoriety that comes with it maturely, but those stories are the exceptions, at least from what my experience.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Kids gets signed to huge bonuses right now in the international market. For how many has this been a problem thus far, and what safeguards are in place?

          • Billyball


            I enjoy reading everyones comments and views on here but yours! The reason is all you do is critique what others are saying. Just let people have conversations and if you don’t agree try and keep it to yourself for a change big guy.

        • Mikhel

          As far as I know, nobody gets the $2-3 MM in a single paycheck, they get paid for a number of payments. Only exceptions are those where a team owns their rights and demand the payment to be done in a single “check”.

          But yeah, it is as problematic as giving any kid $2-3 MM, be it in Puerto Rico, the DR or in the US… specially in the US where drugs of any kind are at the reach of everybody, even more so than in small communities of the caribbean, although newspapers and the like won’t say that (the US has the highest amount of consumption of illegal drugs per capita, though that number will decrease with medicinal pot).

          And it is just not alcohol, remember Brien Taylor and others who have made “poor decisions” and their life end up… well… in bad shape.

        • Michahiro Pinaka

          Funny…last summer you threw a fit because the Yankees didn’t sign a 16 year old. At least be consistent.

          Wolfgang’s Fault says:
          July 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm
          Bosox ink Devers for $1.5M first thing this morning. They probably had him & his agent hidden under lock & key until they could legally sign him. Sorry to say, but imo, this was a huge miss on the Yankees part. In what I believe will be a relatively short couple of years, Devers is going to be putting a serious hurt on Yankee and AL pitching staffs for years to come.

          Wolfgang’s Fault says:
          July 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm
          Yeah, but on the other hand, he already knows how to hit, hit for power, read pitchers & read/hit off-speed stuff, so a metric fuckton of stuff has already gone right for him already. Devers is a problem I wish the Yankees had in their farm system. Believe me, the Bosox scouting people are clinking glasses glasses right about landing this man/child. Four years isn’t a long time when you sign at 16, & hell, nothing says he doesn’t learn to play a corner infield spot well enough to come up earlier than that, or worse case, he comes up in five, six years and he’s what, 21-22? Nice problem to have for a rather reasonable $1.5M? Big-time missed opportunity to score the best IFA hitting prospect available this or — & I’d even say — most years. Missing out on this kid hurts, & it potentially will be the kind of pain that keeps on hurting.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Now this is dedication to one’s craft.

          • Wolfgang’s Fault

            I’m flattered, Michahiro, Perhaps you’d like my early writings on the trans-siberian tzi-tzi fly? I think they’re compelling and — i know you’ll like this point — consistent! At any rate, I don’t see the inconsistency so please be more specific. What can I say, I liked Devers. I liked his frame, the torque he got out of his legs hitting, his forearms, his ability to lift the ball, his hitting potential. At least to me, he was reminiscent of a young Willie McCovey (not saying he is or isn’t that good, just that he resembled his hitting style imo). I didn’t like that the Bosox got him & we didn’t. Once again, I actually don’t see the inconsistency in my posts above & the one’s about Devers as I never addressed the issue of money and young players regarding him. At $1.5M, he’s worth it in comparison to many of the players I’m seeing who are getting more and don’t have his hitting ability. I still think signing players that young, he included, should have MOST of their money placed in an interest bearing escrow account in order to insure it’s still there for them a few years later when they’ll have a better idea of what to do with it, and at a time in their life when they’ll have more practical experience to decide that. Likewise, if the baseball thing doesn’t pan out, they should have something to fall back on and still having dough will give them that chance.

            • Michahiro Pinaka

              One, you’re not a fucking scout, so stop acting like it. Second, it’s hypocritical to complain about them spending big on players after you whined last year they wouldn’t spend big.

              • Wolfgang’s Fault

                Well, then, that’s my delusion, & yours is thinking I give a shit about what you think is hypocritical.

    • ALZ

      That is really a small chunk of change. You spend 27X that much to sign Arod. Many of them will wash out, many will become mediocre players. The thing though is that if one lives up to their potential you have 6.5 years of team control, and the first 3.5 years you are paying the player $500K, and after that arbitration is still way cheaper than free agency. This is a much cheaper bet than free agency. Hell look how much they overpaying CC at this point, could sign 11 these guys a year at that price.

      • ALZ

        ** Math wrong on arod. Is actually 137.5X

        You think we could find a few players that would be worth the 3-4 WAR arod has been putting up during their first years in the league if we signed 137 of them? There aren’t that many worthy this money, but is the hypothetical.

    • Michahiro Pinaka

      Last year you complained because NY didn’t give $1.5M to then-16 year old Devers. Make up your mind.

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        Devers was a particularly outstanding hitting prospect & the Sox landed him for $1.5M. I’m all for signing prospects and paying what you have to to sign them. Once again, where’s the inconsistency. Offering prospects what the market will bear in order to sign them and being troubled by the amounts of money being thrown around and the predictable consequences for many of the signees are mutually exclusive issues. You disagree? Explain.

        • Michahiro Pinaka

          $1.5M was ok for Devers, but not for these guys? Yeah, I disagree.

          • Wolfgang’s Fault

            That’s ok, asshole, if it pisses you off, it brings a smile to my face. Now go back to the archives & work on your reading comprehension you judgmental little shit.

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        Last year I complained that the Yankees let the Red Sox sign the best hitter during the Int’l signing period. You clearly didn’t and still don’t comprehend that. Take the stick out of your rectum & maybe what passes for your brain will comprehend this more clearly.

  • ALZ

    Get as much talent as you can, and this is where the 2 gcl teams will be handy. Many them will end up moving positions, and they so far off that you can’t even prepare for what spots you need.

    • Bryan

      Well most of them won’t even see the GCL team for 2-3 years at least. Unless these guys are all super specs, in which case you might see them come stateside at age 17.

  • JLC 776

    Go for it, go for it, go for it.

    It’s not my money, and the nice thing about lottery tickets is that occasionally one of them becomes Mariano Rivera, so buy as many as you can.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Or they become Robbie Cano, don’t run anything out, leave to Seattle, and then Mariano says they would have preferred Dustin Pedroia……DON’T DOOOOOOOOOOO IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT.

  • Mikhel

    The Yanks should have to take a look at Daniel Pesqueira, a youngster who was blocked from signing in the majors due to the “owner” of his rights blocking him when he tried to sign with the red sox with Adrián González dad’s help (owner of González Baseball Academy) and MLB dictaminated that unless the owners of his rights gave the approval, he could not sign (The Mexican Reds of the Mexican Baseball League own his rights).

    Daniel (19 or 20 years now) has been playing with the local team in my city (Ensenada Mariners) in the Northern Mexican League and has shown good speed (mid 90s fastball), and can mix pitches very good. He is not from the DR so he will not ask for a high amount of money for non-proven talent. At least it is worth a check, specially now that his stock is low (lack of command but it is a matter of time before he regains his form, he was inactive a lot of time).

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    You don’t even get any sort of Melvin Croussett mention anymore with these things.

    *pours some licka for Melvin*

  • Cuso

    While I love to get excited about this stuff, it is always tempered by the niggling feeling in the back of my head that I may dead by the time any of these guys possibly wear pinstripes.

    I’m in my 30s.

  • EndlessJose

    Yes great prospects.We just have to wait over 5 years to see them.Good thing we have prospects in the AA and AAA farm system.

  • morris

    do you think it might be a talent evaluation problem?

  • nycsportzfan

    Best of the bunch mentioned?(projection)

  • PunkPitch

    I have no doubt that a few of these guys MAY pan out. Problem is, Yankee brass AND fans have about as much patience as a Triboro bridge wharf rat. A 5 or 6 year minor league window is not the Steinbrenner way.