Archive for International Free Agents

According to Ben Badler (subs. req’d), the Yankees are projected to sign three of the top five and four of the top ten international prospects once the signing period opens on July 2nd. Those prospects are Dominican SS Dermis Garcia (ranked 2nd), Dominican 3B Nelson Gomez (3rd), Dominican OF Juan De Leon (5th), and Venezuelan OF Jonathan Amundaray (10th).

We first heard the Yankees connected to those players (as well as several others) a few weeks ago. The team reportedly has agreements already in place with Garcia ($3.6M) and Gomez ($2.8M). In another piece (subs. req’d), Balder quotes several scouts who believe De Leon can become a true impact player down the line. “When it’s all said and done, he might be the best of all these guys,” said one scout. “He’s got five-tool potential with three of those tools (power, speed, defense) potentially plus.”

The Yankees were allotted only $2.2M for international free agency this summer, but they are going to blow right past that with their reported agreements. Reports of a international spending spree worth upwards of $30M (bonuses plus penalties) have been going around since the winter. The Yankees took higher probability pitchers in the draft two weeks ago, and it appears they’re going to balance things out with several high-upside international position players next month.

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Got some updates on a pair of Cuban free agents. First, Jesse Sanchez reports the Giants have agreed to sign OF Daniel Carbonell. The Yankees were said to have some interest in him, but not enough to make an offer. Sanchez says Carbonell received a three-year contract worth $3.5M, which tells you teams valued him as an extra player. If there’s one thing the Yankees don’t need, it’s more fourth outfielder types.

In other news, Ben Badler reports RHP Raciel Iglesias has been granted an extension to sign by MLB. Because of the league’s silly rules, he would have had to sign by yesterday to avoid being subject to the international spending restrictions. He can now sign for any amount before July 2nd. As I wrote in this mailbag a few weeks ago, Iglesias is a pure reliever who some teams believe can help as soon as the second half. There have not yet been any reports linking him to the Yankees or any other team.

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Via Andy Martino: The Yankees have verbal agreements in place with SS Dermis Garcia ($3.6M), 3B Nelson Gomez ($2.8M), and SS Christopher Torres ($2.6M) prior to the start of the July 2nd international signing period. All three players are 16 years old and from the Dominican Republic. Read more about them right here. Martino says the Yankees are believed to have agreements with two others in place as well.

Earlier this week Ben Badler (subs. req’d) said Torres was not expected to get anything close to his $2M+ asking price, so there’s some conflicting information out there. That’s nothing new for the international market. The Yankees are said to be planning a massive international spending spree this summer, upwards of $30M between bonuses and penalties, and they’ve already been linked to seven players seeking seven-figure bonuses. These verbal agreements in advance of the signing period happen all the time even though they are against the rules.

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Via Ben Badler (subs. req’d): The Yankees have interest in 15-year-old Venezuelan outfielder Antonio Arias. He is one of the youngest players in this summer’s crop of international amateur free agents, though he will turn 16 on June 12th and is eligible for the 2014-15 international signing period that opens on July 2nd.

Arias is listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 lbs. Badler says he is “a good athlete who projects as a center fielder” while adding he “is a righthanded hitter with good bat speed and some scouts see feel for the barrel, and while he does have some lift in his swing, he lacks present strength to hit for power right now.” The Yankees are reportedly planning to spend upwards of $30M on international players this summer (bonuses plus penalties), though there is no word on what kind of bonus Arias will command. The team has already been connected to eight players likely to get more than $1M.

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According to a Naver report (translated article) passed along by Sung-Min Kim and Dan at MyKBO, the Yankees are close to signing 17-year-old Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park to a deal worth $1.1M. The bonus will count against the team’s international spending cap, so the deal might not become official until the new signing period opens on July 2nd, when the Yankees are expected to go bonkers.

Park spent some time working out in California earlier this year. He is a slick fielder and a left-handed hitter who is said to be a contact-oriented line drive guy without much power. That said, here’s a video of him hitting a grand slam. Here’s another video of him fielding, hitting, and running. It appears the signing will help address the team’s lack of a quality bat flip tool in the minors. Including Park, the Yankees reportedly have their eyes on at least eight international players for seven-figure bonuses this summer.

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Tuesday: The Yankees have been scouting Carbonell during his workouts in Mexico, but they have not offered a contract and are not seriously pursuing him according George King, Dan Martin, and Jesse Sanchez. Carbonell is said to be seeking a four-year deal.

Saturday: Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees are one of five finalists for Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell. We heard they had interest in him a few weeks ago. Carbonell has to sign by July 2nd, otherwise he will be subject to the international spending restrictions.

Carbonell, 23, is said to be a speedy switch-hitting center fielder with some power. He hit .288/.378/.405 with two homers, six steals, ten walks, and eleven strikeouts in 127 plate appearances in Cuba last season before defecting. Here is his over the top workout video. It’s unclear what kind of bonus Carbonell will command. The Yankees had interest in Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz earlier this year, but not enough to make an offer.

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The 2014-15 international signing period opens on July 2nd, so a little less than two months from now, and the Yankees are reportedly planning to blow their $2.2M spending pool right out of the water. The team is said to be willing to spend upwards of $15M on prospects, including another $15M in penalties. They would also be prohibited from signing a player for more than $300k in each of the next two signing periods.

Last week we heard the Yankees were heavily in on four 16-year-old position player prospects from the Dominican Republic, all of whom would command $2M bonuses or more. Today, Ben Badler reports the club is also targeting three other position player prospects likely to sign seven-figure deals of their own, likely in the $1M range. The scouting reports are subscriber-only, so I can only give away so much:

  • C Miguel Flames: “Scouts who liked Flames were impressed by his raw power, ability to work the count and put together consistent game at-bats.”
  • OF Jonathan Amundaray: “He projects as a right fielder with a good arm and a tick above-average speed … Amundaray has a quick bat and home run power.”
  • SS Diego Castillo: “One of the most instinctive baseball players on the market … a line-drive hitter with a clean, repeatable swing and feel for the barrel.”

All three players hail from Venezuela and sorry, I can’t find any video. I also have no idea how old they are, but 16 is a safe assumption. Flames was a third baseman for most of his life until recently moving behind the plate. Badler says the Yankees “are high on” Amundaray and are merely connected to the other two, for what it’s worth.

If the Yankees were to sign these three plus the four guys from last week, it will amount to $12M or so in bonuses based on Badler’s numbers. That would still leave $3M leftover, which is a ton. I have to think some of that would go towards pitching, though I’m not sure about the quality of this summer’s crop of arms. It’s safe bet the Yankees will grab at least a few pitchers though. Need to balance things out.

It has only been about five weeks, but so far this year the farm system has made a nice rebound from last season’s disaster. Adding three first round picks last year helped, as did Manny Banuelos‘ return from Tommy John surgery and the continued progress of guys like Peter O’Brien, Luis Severino, and Gary Sanchez. It sure sounds like an international draft is coming in the near future, so this might be the Yankees’ last chance to spend like crazy and add several impact youngsters to the system.

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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.

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6:00pm: Baseball America (no subs. req’d) has the individual slot values for the draft and international pools. The international slots are for used in trades. The Yankees are slotted for $1,018,700 for that 55th overall pick. Their third rounder falls all the way to $585,100.

12:00pm: Via Jim Callis: Bonus pools for the draft and international free agency have increased 1.7% this year. The Yankees have been slotted $3,202,300 for the 2014 draft, the second smallest pool, ahead of only the Orioles. They have also been slotted $2,193,100 for international free agency, which is more middle of the pack (17th most).

The Yankees forfeited their top three draft picks — their first rounder and the compensation picks for Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano — to sign free agents last winter, so their first selection is in the second round, 55th overall. That may change slightly if Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales ever get around to signing. That $3.2M pool still gives them enough cash to sign a big money prospect or two, as long as they grab cheap college seniors in rounds five through ten to compensate. They’ve done that the last two years.

Based on what we heard over the winter, the international spending pool is meaningless this year. The Yankees are said to be planning a huge spending spree, upwards of $15M on prospects and then another $15M in penalties. They reportedly have some agreements already in place. If they do spend huge like that, they will not be allowed to sign anyone to a bonus larger than $300k the next two years. That might not matter with an international draft looking more and more likely. The international signing period opens July 2nd.

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According to multiple reports, the Cardinals have agreed to a four-year contract with Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz. The deal is reportedly worth a little less than $20M. The Yankees had interest in Diaz and even had him in camp for a private workout a few weeks ago, but they ultimately decided not to make a contract offer. Oh well.

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