When the international free agent pool opened up to teams during the 2013 season, the Chicago Cubs took advantage of a loophole in the signing rules to land all of the top players. One year later, the New York Yankees are prepared to do the same.
The Yankees are willing to spend $20-25 million next year during the negotiating period, which will likely be more than enough to land many of the top, budding stars.
The drawback will come in the following two years when the Yankees will not be allowed to sign any international free agent for more than $300,000. The majority of these players come from countries like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, but players from countries such as Taiwan have been signed in the past.
Signing a few top free agents will – hopefully – replenish the Yankees farm system which has come under fire recently for not being as strong as it should be, with many prospects not being MLB-ready. However, a few plus-talent players with very cheap contracts can help the Yankees field a cost-effective team, says sbnation.com.
The players signed might not be noteworthy until they let their skills develop within the minor league system, but the tools that they possess make them can’t-miss talent worth signing. Last year, the Cubs signed six players from the international pool, all of whom are on the radars of Cubs’ fans and management.
The Yankees have had past success in the international pool, as in 2001, they signed a young player from the Dominican Republic by the name of Robinson Cano, and well, we know how that one turned out. Before Cano, there was also a player named Alfonso Soriano who was signed by the Yankees from this pool, and years later, he still continues to play in MLB at a high level.
Not every player signed turns out to be a Cano or a Soriano, but sometimes they do, and that is why most of the time, signing these international players for such a small amount of money is worth it.
The next international free agent negotiation period begins on July 2, 2014.