Archive for International Free Agents
With the new international free agent spending restrictions set to take effect in four days, the Dodgers broke the bank. Jesse Sanchez and Enrique Rojas report that Los Angeles have agreed to sign 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig to a seven-year, $42M contract. This came a few weeks after the Cubs signed Jorge Soler for nine-years, $30M and a few months after the Athletics signed Yoenis Cespedes for four years, $36M. The market for Cuban outfielders has officially jumped the shark.
Last week we heard that Puig defected and just two days ago he was declared a free agent, but as far as we know the Yankees didn’t have any kind of interest. Ben Badler recently spoke to scouts who didn’t have many good things to say based on his recent workouts, but as Jack Moore wrote, the investment is a positive sign for the Dodgers and their new ownership. I just can’t fathom spending that much on an unknown commodity.
9:00pm: Kevin Goldstein provided a brief scouting report on Puig: “Physical, plus runner, avg bat, avg power, decent in CF, not a lock to stay there.”
11:30am: Via Jesse Sanchez, 21-year-old outfielder Yasel Puig has defected from Cuba and is in the process of establishing residency in Mexico. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., he is tentatively scheduled to work out for teams later this week. Puig’s agent is in the process of getting his client declared a free agent so he can sign prior to July 2nd, when he would become subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
There isn’t much info out there about Puig, who Sanchez describes as “not as seasoned” as Yoenis Cespedes but with “more experience (at a high level)” as Jorge Soler. That doesn’t tell us anything meaningful, unfortunately. He hit 17 homers in Cuba’s top league two seasons ago but did not play last year because they caught him trying to defect and suspended him indefinitely. Here’s a highlight video edited to make Puig look like a superstar-in-waiting. No word on the Yankees’ level of interest or anything like that, all we know right now is that he successful escaped Cuba.
8:03pm: Via Ben Badler, it’s a $4M bonus and Rodriguez needs to secure a visa before the deal can become official. Make sure you click the link, Badler provides plenty of background and scouting info.
2:31pm: Via Jesse Sanchez, the Yankees will sign 18-year-old Cuban left-hander Omar Luis Rodriguez for a bonus in the $4-5M range. It is a minor league contract. He became a free agent earlier this month and would have been subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the Collective Bargaining Agreement had he not signed by July 2nd.
Rodriguez first garnered serious attention at the World Junior Championships back in 2010, when he threw a complete game shutout against Team USA in the title game. He did get hit around while pitching in one of Cuba’s professional leagues as a 16-year-old a few years ago, but that’s not terribly surprising. Rodriguez is a projection guy with an 88-92 mph fastball to go with a curveball and changeup that still need development, and he’s drawn raves for his poise in the past. Pretty much exactly what the Yankees look for.
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.
2:40pm: Jon Heyman says Soler signed a nine-year contract worth right around $30M. Good grief. Heyman also says three or four teams were over $20M, though it’s unclear if the Yankees were one of them.
2:17pm: Via Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs won the bidding for free agent outfielder Jorge Soler. The Yankees tried to sign him, but Chicago won out. No word on the contract terms yet, but I’m very curious to see what they are. As I said yesterday, $15-20M for a 20-year-old prospect is a ton of money and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees backed away at a certain point.
For what it’s worth, Kevin Goldstein says the Cubs had a “choke point” on Soler and would one-up every bid until they landed him. Yesterday Goldstein described the Cuban outfielder as “a RF profile guy. BIG power, big arm, ok fielder, holes in swing. He’s not historic and he’s seen as ready for Low-A.”
6:17pm: Joel Sherman confirms that the Yankees are “in deep” for Soler and have been told — along with other interested teams — that their best bid must be submitted today. A decision is likely to be made tomorrow.
10:54am: For what it’s worth, Peter Gammons says interested clubs believe this will drag out beyond tomorrow unless the Yankees decide to blow everyone else out of the water.
10:00am: Via George King and Mike Puma, free agent outfielder Jorge Soler is expected to agree to terms on a four-year contract sometime “before tomorrow.” The 20-year-old Cuban defector was officially declared a free agent earlier this month, and yesterday we heard that the Yankees were one of the clubs most aggressively pursuing him.
Soler will be subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement come July 2nd, so it’s not a surprise to see him and his agent try to wrap up a contract as soon as possible. I’m very curious to see the size of the deal; a four-year pact probably means something like $15-20M. That’s a ton of money for a prospect — Soler’s not a finished product who can jump right into the bigs — and it really wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees walked away. Then again it is just money though, and they have lots of it.
Via Buster Olney, the Yankees are one of the four teams most aggressively pursuing 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. The Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves are also in the mix. The first round of bids were due this past Thursday and the second round is due this weekend. This isn’t a posting process similar to Japanese players, it’s just a straight submission of contract offers and counteroffers.
Soler was finally declared a free agent last week, but the Yankees had been connected to him long before that. The outfielder had been trying to establish residency in Haiti (not the Dominican Republic, where he lives now) according to Ben Badler, a red flag because of the country’s shoddy record keeping. Jerry Crasnick says MLB verified Soler’s residency before declaring him a free agent though, so it’s a non-issue. Soler has three weeks and two days to sign a contract before becoming subject to the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Via Ben Badler, the Yankees have agreed to sign 22-year-old Dominican right-hander Manolo Reyes for $600k. He originally signed the Braves in 2009 before being released and suspended for a year due to issues with his paperwork. Badler says his fastball climbed into the mid-90s and has even touched 99 during the time off.
The new deal between Reyes and the Yankees is still pending MLB’s approval and a visa, which we know can take a while following the Rafael DePaula fiasco. Make sure you click the link to read about Reyes’ back story, which is far too complicated for me to try to explain here. Assuming Reyes gets the required clearance and the contract becomes official, the signing bonus will not count against this year’s $2.9M international spending limit implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Via Dan Martin, the Yankees remain interested in 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. MLB declared him a free agent recently and the Yankees were said to have “serious interest” back during the offseason. His agent still needs to secure an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Asset control before he can officially sign, but that’s not considered a major obstacle. Soler will be subject to the new spending restrictions come July 2nd, so expect him to sign for some ungodly amount rather soon.
Via Ken Rosenthal, 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler has been declared a free agent and is free to sign with any team. He can sign for any amount until the spending restrictions implemented by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement take effect on July 2nd, so expect him to sign sometime this month.
The Yankees were said to have “serious interest” in Soler earlier this season, but obviously they’re not the only club in the hunt. Bidding could approach $20M across four or five years on a big league contract. I’m a fan based on the little we know and it would be great to see the Yankees add a young player of this caliber to the organization. Either way, expect to here a whole lot about Soler over the next few weeks.