Yankees held private workout for Andy Ibanez in Tampa this week

A-Rod hits 660th homer to tie Willie Mays for fourth place all-time, leads Yankees to 3-2 win over Red Sox
Game 24: Follow Up
Ibanez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. (Koji Watanabe/Getty)
Ibanez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. (Koji Watanabe/Getty)

According to George King and Dan Martin, the Yankees held a private workout for free agent Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez at their complex in Tampa earlier this week. The team also scouted him during a workout in Miami last month.

Ibanez, 21, has already been declared a free agent by MLB and unblocked by a Office of Foreign Assets Control, so he is free to sign at any time. King and Martin say he is expected to get a bonus in the $10M neighborhood, which would be taxed at 100% regardless of which team signs him. That would exceed all 30 bonus pools.

Before defecting, Ibanez hit .283/.348/.419 with 60 doubles and 13 home runs in 242 games in the Cuban league. He was on Cuba’s roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic but rode the bench in the deference to their veteran infielders. Here’s a scouting report from Ben Badler:

At 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, Ibanez has a thicker build for a middle infielder but he’s athletic and has good body control. With fringy speed and an average arm at best, Ibanez isn’t flashy, but he has a good internal clock and a high baseball IQ, fitting best at second base. Ibanez’s power is mostly to the gaps, projecting as a doubles hitters rather than a big home run threat, but what’s sold some scouts on him is his bat.

“He’s a strong guy who doesn’t have your prototype, ideal body for a second baseman, but he moves around well for his stature,” said another scout. “And he performs. He’s a good hitter. I liked his swing and the way he manipulated the bat.”

Ibanez is subject to the international spending restrictions, so the Yankees are free to sign him for any amount prior to June 25th. But, after that, they will only be able to offer him $300,000 as a result of the penalties from last July’s international spending spree. I’m not sure why Ibanez is waiting to sign. You’d think he’d want to sign quickly and start playing in the minors to get his career underway.

Inviting Ibanez in for a private workout really doesn’t mean much of anything. The Yankees had Aledmys Diaz in for a private workout last year and they had Yoan Moncada in for three separate private workouts this offseason, but didn’t sign either player. It’s been a while since the Yankees signed a premium Cuban player. Jose Contreras was the last.

Ibanez is not on the same level as Moncada but he has some ability and is expected to be able to help at the MLB level in the near future. Accumulating middle infield depth is always a good thing, and that goes double for the Yankees, since it’s unclear if they have a long-term shortstop or second baseman in the organization right now. (The jury is still out on Didi Gregorius and Rob Refsnyder.)

Until the Yankees actually step up and sign a top Cuban free agent, I won’t expect them to do it. They’ve done the song and dance with several players in recent years — Diaz, Moncada, Yasmany Tomas, Yoan Lopez, and others — but didn’t sign any of them. These private workouts are fake interest until they sign one of these guys, as far as I’m concerned.

A-Rod hits 660th homer to tie Willie Mays for fourth place all-time, leads Yankees to 3-2 win over Red Sox
Game 24: Follow Up
  • BD11

    Agreed. I don’t trust Hal or Levine.

    It made too much sense to sign Moncada. So saying “it’s obvious” they should go after Ibanez means nothing.

    • johnsondc

      Moncada has done nothing. He is only projected to be very good, and projections are just that. Save the money for a proven talent when it comes along.

      • BD11

        The Yankees will be saving their money for s very very long time then. Proven talent = 30 year old looking for a 7 year megadeal. Teams don’t let their stars leave. Stanton, Trout…. you have to roll the dice and the Yankees are pound foolish.

        • johnsondc

          You do not have to be 30 to be a proven talent. A quality WIN METHOD player is far more valuable. It is always easy for a person to spend someone else’s money.

  • Pkyankfan69

    Can he hit and play solid defense at 2B? If the answer is yes then they should sign him but they probably won’t. Hank broke his water jet pack last week, needs a replacement, clearly more important.

    • Sir Didi Nakamura

      Hal also needs to buy a new teacup set that has one central cup that he pours into and then it pours into 12 other cups.

  • SweetSpot

    I’m not so sure it’s that obvious to ask a first-place team to spend $20-25 million dollars they don’t have to, to stick a guy in the minors to see what he has. I would rather they use that money to fill holes later on domestically due to injury to a starter or another unanticipated setback. That having been said, maybe Cashman will convince Hal and Hank that Drew is a one-year stop gap measure, that they are not sure if Refsnyder can cut it at second base, there are not that many other options and it makes sense to sign Ibanez.

    • BD11

      You probably have to think he’ll be a top 20-ish 2b (?) and play avg D to commit $20M + min salary and arbitration for 6+ years. It’s not that big of an investment if you are fairly certain he’ll be a decent starter but he doesn’t need to be great to justify that. $5-6M per if he turns out to be pretty good. Its the only advantage the Yanks have. Taking strictly monetary risk for potential high reward.

      • SweetSpot

        One thing I omitted above is the as yet unknown assessment by the Yankees baseball ops people after the workout. Who knows how they graded him. I also do not think the Yankees have a financial advantage in a $20-million dollar deal. Almost every team in ‘flush with cash’ baseball can afford that. He’s not the kind of player where you’re going to overpay to get him. I don’t think so anyway.

        • BD11

          I disagree. Yes any team can afford $20M. The difference is the Yankees and Dodgers can afford to be wrong. If you can’t be wrong on your risks, you can’t afford to take as many.

          • SweetSpot

            That’s just not the case, the Yankees have an operating budget like every team does. When you spend that much and make a mistake it hurts you elsewhere and/or in the future. i.e. Beltran, Sabathia, A-Rod, Teixeira. 38, 35,35, 39 years of age and $90 million a season. They block prospects and potential trade targets as well.

            • BD11

              You’re either a friend of Hal’s or completely missing the point. Oh well… Maybe you can email Mike or ask someone to explain it in a better way to you.

        • BD11

          Of course if you think he’s being overrated he’s not worth it. But he doesn’t have to be an all-star to warrant the $.

  • Austinmac

    The hit tool is the hardest to find these days. If he can hit, sign him.

    Maybe Hal just likes to invite Cuban guests. I’ll not hold my breath.

  • BD11

    If he ends up being a league average 2b he’s almost worth the $. You’re paying hoping he’s above average and the risk is that he’s not. That said, I see another team stepping up.

  • Leftballer

    So… I guess a first division team doing its due diligence on a player means nothing if they don’t sign him or have a recent track record against signing players from a certain region.

    Nothing to see here.

  • Mustang

    If he is cheap they sign him if not well we all know the deal.

  • Adam

    Isn’t the cutoff date July 2, not June 25?

    • LazerTown

      June 25 – July 2 is a dead period. July 2 the new round starts.

  • Mustang

    “Diaz, Moncada, Yasmany Tomas, Yoan Lopez, and others — but didn’t sign any of them. These private workouts are fake interest until they sign one of these guys, as far as I’m concerned.”

    Agree 100%
    Welcome to the Age of Haltron

    • blake

      Arod should Hulk smash Haltron

      • Mustang

        Nope that’s Pineda.

        A-Rod more like Tony Stark

        • Dalek Jeter

          So…Stephen Drew is like Clint Barton (Hawkeye)? Generally useless but occasionally comes out of nowhere to save the day?

  • dave_8

    He seems like a Miguel Cairo-type — which isn’t bad. And this aspect “good internal clock and a high baseball IQ” is grossly underrated as we’ve seen with Didi’s troubles.

    Also, and I don’t know if he’s hurt or not, but Refs sat last night while Pirela played 2b. I know Pirela needs to get into games as part of his rehab, but I’d think Refs would still be in the lineup somewhere — or still at 2b with Pirela playing a different position (even SS). And they’re definitely treating Pirela as someone coming back to play on the big league level rather than demoting him to AAA. Does your 2b of the future sit to let a UTL get some reps on a rehab assignment?

  • CashmanNinja

    At this point just sign him. Throw money at him. Get some depth. I feel that this kind of guy is the type who could come out of Cuba and actually exceed expectations. He doesn’t have any “future superstar” label already placed on him.

    • Nick

      if the yankees truly had the fuck it show him the money approach they would have some of these cuban players

  • blake

    He will just block Refsynder !

    • Austinmac

      I think the block is being worn by Refsnyder instead of a glove.

  • Fletch

    Have very little hope they get one of these guys. The 2015 IFA July 2nd spending spree was really it on the international front. MLB Draft though will be interesting as that will be the last amateur piece of the puzzle for a bit.

  • Some Asshole

    Looks like another sandwich we won’t be able to enjoy.

    • Sir Didi Nakamura

      >.>

  • SweetSpot

    Jacoby Ellsbury CF
    Brett Gardner LF
    Alex Rodriguez DH
    Mark Teixeira 1B
    Brian McCann C
    Chris Young RF
    Chase Headley 3B
    Gregorio Petit 2B
    Didi Gregorius SS
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

    • johnsondc

      You don’t think, you do not know your ass from your elbow, and you DO NOT speak for me. Don’t sign him.

  • Sir Didi Nakamura

    I think I speak for everyone else when I say: Just fucking sign him Hal.

  • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

    Sign none of the Cubans!

    (Worth a shot)

  • Beauee

    Getting tired of Hal’s budget…so very tired of it…sign the kid!

    • Austinmac

      Good luck with that. We have a budget. You people want Hal to spend on baseball players? He can buy a motel, buy a horse farm or many other pleasurable things.

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        If Hal went after every player fans pine for here , the payroll would be over 350m. Get a grip people…

        • Beauee

          They shouldn’t go after everyone, but they need to start flexing their financial muscle and take advantage of the international market before the CBA institutes a draft.

          • Y’s Guy

            $20M can buy you a middle-of-the-order hitter or a #2 type pitcher for one season, or a major league average player for a couple of years, so let’s not act like $20M is chump change. I have no idea if this kid is worth it as I’ve never seen him play, but if he’s a miss, that’s an expensive miss. I’ll be ok whichever way they go.

            • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

              They aren’t looking for the missing piece anymore. They are looking to build a team. FA as we knew it is dead and the Cubans are FA’s. What they believe in now is building a farm system 1st, then adding pieces as they go, not the other way around.

              • Austinmac

                Like a young international player?

            • Beauee

              I don’t know what league average player you’re getting for a few years on 20 million. You have to look at the 20 million in terms of the prospect’s first six years of value (in the majors). It is 20 million + the costs of those six year. Can the prospect bring in enough WAR to justify the price tag? That is what must be determined. If Ibanez can be league average, then absolutely. Is it a risk? Yes, but the Yankees can afford risk. Tapping into the international market is their best way to sign young, cheap players. If they truly want to stop spending big bucks on older free agents (and getting their decline years in return), then they have to do change strategy (and try something like the international market).

              • Y’s Guy

                I stand by the idea that you can get a league average player for about $10M per for a “couple of years”

                • Norm Stansfield

                  That’s easy enough to verify. Let’s see some of the players who signed short term contracts in that range, in 2013, and what they have done. First off, they’re all old. Few guys under 35 were willing to take short contracts (unless they’ve been suspended for steroids).

                  Lance Berkman, 37 yo., 1 year/11 mill. oWAR in 2013: -0.1 dWar: -0.6

                  Joe Blanton, 2 years/15 mill. WAR -2 in 2013, out of baseball in 2014

                  Ryan Dempster, 2 years/26 mill. WAR -1.7 in 2013, out of baseball in 2014

                  Dan Haren, 1 year/13 mill. WAR -0.1, then in 2014, he got a two year contract for $20 mill. Finished 2014 with a WAR of -0.6.

                  Kevin Youkilis, 1 year/12 mill. Barely played, he stunk while he did.

                  So no, you can’t get a league average player for 2 years/ $20 million. You can get an aging, established player, who comes with a huge risk and low ceiling (league average is about the best you can hope for – but, more often than not, won’t get).

                  Or you can take a risk on a young middle infielder with the potential to give you six years of above average baseball, while in his prime.

                  • Y’s Guy

                    and that would be alot more helpful than blowing $20M on a bust.

            • Norm Stansfield

              A middle of the order hitter for 20 million? Like who? Who could the Yankees have bought this winter, to hit middle of the order for them, for $20 million?

              No one who can hit in the middle of the Yankee order would ever sign for one year. Not unless they’re washed up, like Youkilis was.

              • Y’s Guy

                first off we’re not talking about this year. And just because you’d have to pay the rest of the guys’s contract doesn’t mean that $20M wouldn’t pay for a year, as I suggested.

        • Y’s Guy

          And nobody has seen this kid play an inning.

          • Austinmac

            So is the test the Yankees should use in signing a player is whether we have seen him play? They watched many guys I have never seen play and didn’t sign them, and they have turned out well. Do we need to list them for you?

            They didn’t fail in not signing them all. They failed in signing none. In reality, the prices for many is well below market value for players of like ability.

        • Austinmac

          Why does the desire to sign one guy turn into, “fans want everyone to be signed?” We wanted Moncada. Had he been signed, all would be quiet. I hunk fans would like to see a pulse. I know I would.

        • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

          And that would be awesome. Sign em all and let Joe sort em out.

  • bardos

    Will the Yankees accept a full season from a .175 hitting second baseman?
    Will the Yankees accept a full season from a .175 hitting right fielder?

    They do have other options.

    But everyone hates to just throw money away…

    • Austinmac

      I think the answer is “Yes, they will.”

  • Sir Didi Nakamura

    BREAKING: A-Rod tries to murder Red Sox fan with line-drive home run aimed at head

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      Fan keeps ball and demands a king’s ransom.

  • http://jdbilingualsafety.blog.com/ ChristIsKing

    Speaking of Cubans, has Moncada played an inning?

    • Austinmac

      I don’t think so. He was supposed to start in the SAL, but he has no stats there.

    • Some Asshole

      According to Over the Monster, he’s in Extended Spring Training.

  • Sir Didi Nakamura

    Mark Canha stole second base and was (should’ve) been safe, but Elvis Andrus did the old little league joke play where you lift the guys leg off the base and then tag him and be like “haha you’re out” but they called him out and deemed it unreviewable. LOL

  • DeutschlandNY

    Cashman has to sign all the cubans, or else!

    • Austinmac

      Or one well regarded one. One. Just one.

      • DeutschlandNY

        Sure, until that player gets injured then it is he’s fault. Cashman failz both ways.

        • Austinmac

          I have never blamed Cashman. He follows orders as he must. I blame short sighted ownership and have for several years.

          • DeutschlandNY

            Never said it was you. But you know people blame him when injuries happen.

      • Y’s Guy

        Cashman was way out in front on the Cubans, he signed one of the best ever within months of becoming GM. el Duque!

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          He was a proven commodity like Tanaka.

          • Y’s Guy

            Well, lets move the goal posts a little more….does he need to sign a southern cuban or a northern cuban? Maybe we can sort for eye color, too.

            • Austinmac

              A talented Cuban. Is that really so difficult to comprehend?

            • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

              I don’t know about north or south, but I’ll play the odds and say they should sign all the brown eyed Cubans.

        • Austinmac

          Yes, when he had an owner that would allow it. I have no doubt Cashman would have moved on some of these guys had he been allowed.

          He also wanted to go after Shields. Too expensive. That’s why talk of an expensive mid-season pick up will turn out to be just talk.

  • calripyankee

    Not sure I’d give $10 mil to a prospect.. Even if he is Cuban.. Ibanez is not a “sure” thing.. Wouldn’t blame the Yankees for not signing him, if they weren’t sufficiently impressed with his private workout..

    • Austinmac

      Sign no one for big money who has not achieved professional success? Should we skip the first round of the draft? Much safer.

      • calripyankee

        1st rd picks don’t even get $10 mil.. And, I haven’t read one scouting report that says Ibanez is 1st rd talent.. Unlike Moncada..

    • Austinmac

      Like every Cuban, I have no insight in the players’ abilities. What I have seen and don’t want to see anymore is a refusal to take risks on these young guys. It is short sighted and ultimately, in my view, financially foolish. Soler at $4M a year for the next six years would be a good thing. And on and on.

    • ChuckIt

      According to ESPN’s 30 for 30 on Cuban baseball, which included a panel of former MLB’s sports writers & agents, all of Cuban descent, the latest media buzz on these players does not reflect reality.
      90% of them don’t make the Majors, & only 1% of the remaining 10% have any significant impact in the league. That being said, if the Yankees sign Ibanez, will it put a stop to all this Moncada bulls#@# on this site ?

      • argenys

        NO, because Moncada was like getting a top 5 pick in the draft. Which no Yankee fan wants to see the Yankees draft that high because it means the previous season was a spectacular failure. And they would never get any of those picks from a compensation pick because those top picks are protected and you don’t draft until the field does(everyone else is just moved up a spot). Considering the rumors of an international draft coming as soon as the Yankees are able to spend again. This was their last shot, and that is the factor that can’t be forgiven, more than who the specific player was or was from.

        Biggest daggers in my lifetime were:
        #1 04′
        #2 Moncada

        • ahrmann

          Be thankful that Yankee-related stuff are the 2 biggest daggers in your lifetime (so far). The rest of us should be so lucky!

          • argenys

            I meant Yankee related daggers.

      • argenys

        NO, because Moncada was like getting a top 5 pick in the draft. Which no Yankee fan wants to see the Yankees draft that high because it means the previous season was a spectacular failure. And they would never get any of those picks from a compensation pick because those top picks are protected and you don’t draft until the field does(everyone else is just moved up a spot). Considering the rumors of an international draft coming as soon as the Yankees are able to spend again. This was their last shot, and that is the factor that can’t be forgiven, more than who the specific player was or was from.

        Biggest daggers in my lifetime were:
        #1 04′
        #2 Moncada