July the second, the first day of international signings for the MLB, has already seemed to be taken care of by the New York Yankees. The Yanks’ farm system is hurting for sure, but their wallets never will. Their International signing prize of Masahiro Tanaka is paying off huge through the first third of this season, as he is currently a candidate for the Rookie of the Year, AL Cy Young, and AL MVP, far and away surpassing his already huge expectations.
Next up is Latin America, where it has been said by the Daily News (thanks to a major league source), that the Yanks have already reached verbal agreements with three very talented Dominican Republic infielders, two third basemen, one shortstop. The three contracts are looking like this: Dermis Garcia for $3.6 million, Nelson Gomez for $2.8 million, and Christopher Torres for $2.6 million (with some reporting only $1 mil). These contract amounts of course, are all approximations. Not only that, but this source has also reported that the Yankees have at least a couple more players lined up as well. Kiley McDaniel of Scoutingreport.com reported in February that in addition to those three, they also have verbal agreements with Juan Deleon (CF, $2 million), Chris Torres (SS, $900,000), and Venezuelan Jonathan Amundaray (OF, $1.5 million), with more possible, as the Bronx Bombers could spend close to $20 million on International Players, shattering the previous record of over $8 million by the Texas Rangers in 2012, accruing possibly over $15 million in penalties in the process.
The Yankees aren’t the first to exceed baseball’s restrictions on Latin American signings since the current system was implemented in lieu of an International Draft, as the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers have all done this over the last two years. And no one can argue the pressing need the Yankees have to breathe new life into an organization that is losing its cornerstone when Derek Jeter, the last of the Core Four, retires, and leaves the team without a true “Face of the Franchise,” for the first time in decades, plus has numerous aging parts all over the infield, outfield, and pitching staff. The current state of the Bronx Bombers’ farm system offers no top tier players who can be expected to fill potentially vital roles for the big league team within the foreseeable future. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of the players they are linked to can play on the left side of the infield, as even with Alex Rodriguez presumably returning next season, the left side of the infield doesn’t look nearly as potent as it did, even 2 years ago.
Brian Cashman and Co. addressed some big league needs with the massive amount spent on Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Tanaka. But with the majority of those players past the age of 30, the Yankees Brass saw the value in spending on the future, given the recent success of players like Yaisel Puig and Yeonis Cespedes, especially after releasing 33 minor leaguers this offseason, many of whom were previous international signings.
There may be no better time to attempt this than this signing period, as with the MLB and MLBPA having tabled talks of an International Draft until 2016, the Yankees could do this, pay the penalties and suffer the restriction of not being able to sign anyone for over $300,000 next year, and then be eligible for the draft, after practically illustrating why one should be implemented. Again, the Yankees could spend close to $40 million after penalties have been enforced, but when has this ever stopped them? Surely, this farm system seems to be on the rise, and perhaps some of these guys will be ready for Major League ball by next year. Makes you wonder why the OTHER New York team (AKA the one with the supposedly great farm system) hasn’t thought do this sooner.