The 2014 international signing period opened at 9am ET today, and, by all accounts, the Yankees are planning a massive spending spree. They have been assigned a $2.2M signing pool but are reportedly willing to spend upwards of $30M between bonuses and penalties. They’re said to have several verbal agreements already in place, many of which are individually worth more than the team’s signing pool.
The penalties for the spending spree will be pretty harsh. Not only will the Yankees have to pay a 100% tax on just about every dollar they spend, they will also not be allowed to sign any player to a bonus worth more than $300k during the next two international signing periods (2015-16 and 16-17). With rumors of an international draft continuing to circulate, this may be New York’s last chance to spend freely on amateurs.
As a reminder, these players are signing contracts for 2015. They won’t sign and report right to one of the minor league affiliates in the coming days. It’s also worth pointing out these kids are just that: kids. The majority are 16-17 years old, meaning they are a half-decade away from making their MLB debuts. If they’re like most other players, it’ll take another few years after that for them to have a real impact. These players are a long way away from helping the Yankees as anything other than a trade chip.
Our international free agency archive is right here. Both Baseball America and MLB.com recently released their lists of the top 30 available prospects, though Baseball America’s scouting reports are subscriber-only. MLB.com’s stuff — video, scouting reports, etc. — is all free. It’s pretty awesome. We’ll keep track of the team’s international signings right here throughout the day, so make sure you check back often for updates (all timestamps are ET).
- 8:01pm: McDaniel has a bunch of low-profile, small bonus signings: Venezuelan OF Leobaldo Cabrera, Venezuelan C Jason Lopez, Dominican OF Lisandro Blanco, Dominican IF Wander Hernandez, Venezuelan OF Raymundo Moreno, Dominican OF Adolfo Morillo, Venezuelan OF Pablo Olivares, Dominican C Bismar Nunez, Dominican LHP Luis Pache, Venezuelan SS Danienger Perez, and Venezuelan RHP Gilmael Troya. No word on any bonuses, but again, they’re small.
- 7:46pm: McDaniel reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan OF Jonathan Amundaray for approximately $1.5M. MLB.com ranked him seventh and Baseball America ranked him 22nd. “Amundaray has good bat speed with a slight uppercut and average raw power that has a chance to be plus in the future … He has a decent stroke, but he doesn’t have an innate feel for hitting, with some length to his swing and inconsistent bat-to-ball skills,” wrote Badler.
- 7:42pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Antonio Arias, according to Kiley McDaniel. Sanchez says the bonus is $800k. MLB.com ranked Arias as the ninth best prospect when Baseball America had him 28th. “He’s one of the better athletes in Latin America, with plus speed that he should be able to maintain as he adds weight to stay in center field … He flashes solid bat speed and power potential, but everything about Arias is physical projection,” says Badler.
- 7:03pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan RHP Servando Hernandez for $200k, reports Badler. He is not among MLB.com’s nor Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects. Hernandez “has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and touches 90-91 mph. He shows feel for his changeup and is mostly a fastball/changeup pitcher with the curveball his No. 3 pitch,” says Badler.
- 6:47pm: According to Badler, the Yankees have signed 18-year-old Korean SS Hyo-Jun Park. He got a $1.16M bonus according to Naver (translated article). Park was ranked as the 13th and 18th best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. Everything you need to know about him is in this guest post from Sung-Ming Kim. Because he is 18, he can begin playing as soon as the contract is official.
- 6:36pm: The Yankees have also signed 16-year-old Venezuelan C Miguel Flames, according to Badler. Sanchez says he received a $1M bonus. Flames was considered the 16th best prospect by Baseball America and 25th best by MLB.com. “Scouts who like Flames say he hits in games and takes quality at-bats thanks to his pitch recognition and ability to stay within the strike zone,” wrote Badler, who notes Flames is a recently converted third baseman.
- 6:33pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Juan De Leon, reports Badler. Sanchez says he received $2M. Baseball America and MLB.com rank De Leon has the second and fifth best prospect available, respectively. Badler says “De Leon has a short, efficient swing and strong wrists that help him generate the best bat speed in the class, which is why several scouts consider De Leon one of the top hitters available.”
- 3:21pm: Sanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Wilkerman Garcia for $1.35M. Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as the seventh and 14th best prospect on the market, respectively. “Garcia draws widespread praise for his hitting with good bat-to-ball skills and a sound swing from both sides of the plate,” wrote Badler.
- 1:40pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican 3B Nelson Gomez for $2.25M, reports Sanchez. He was ranked the second and sixth best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. “Gomez, who trains with Victor Baez, has at least plus raw power … He has good bat speed and packs plenty of strength into a heavy, big-boned frame, putting on an impressive display in batting practice with power to all fields,” says Badler.
- 12:50pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican SS Dermis Garcia, according to Dionisio Soldevila. He received a $3.2M bonus after being connected to the team for weeks now. MLB.com and Baseball America ranked Garcia as the best and ninth best prospect available, respectively, with Badler saying he is “strong, generates huge loft and puts on a fireworks display in batting practice, with 70 raw power that rates as the best in the class”
- 11:25am: Jesse Sanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Diego Castillo for $750k. He ranked 16th and 24th on MLB.com’s and Baseball America’s top 30 lists, respectively. “Castillo is one of the most intelligent players in Latin America. He slows the game down, playing calmly and under control in all phases of the game,” wrote Badler.
- 10:23am: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Frederick Cuevas for $300k, reports Ben Badler. He does not rank among Baseball America’s or MLB.com’s top 30 prospects. “Cuevas is a lefty who has performed well at the plate in games with gap power. He doesn’t have a tool that jumps out and he fits best in left field,” wrote Badler.
Total Known Bonuses: $14.51M. Total Penalties: ~$12.31M. Total spent: ~$26.82M.