In the past, the Yankees have not had luck in the Major League Baseball draft system, being victimized of success by having low draft picks, but the one place the Yankees can find players to help their depleted farm system is the place where it matters how much money a team has: the international market.
A source told ESPNNewYork.com the Yankees are expected to open their wallet to the international market this summer in an attempt to reload their farm system and cash-in on a strong crop of talent.
Although baseball is attempting to make the playing field fair for all 30 teams–even going as far as posting a luxury tax on teams with a payroll over $189 Million–the Yankees are prepared to spend wildly during the international signing period, which begins July 2nd. Baseball’s new and complex international rule allots the Yankees to spend a little more than $2 Million without penalty in the international market (countries such as Japan are excluded in the agreement).
However, a baseball insider believes the Yankees will spend up to $18 Million on players from Latin America, who make up a minimum of 27% of baseball’s active rosters. If the Yankees do such a plan, it would put them at $12 Million in penalties and would limit the amount they could spend next season at $250,000 per player.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman wouldn’t say how much money the Yankees were planning to spend in the international market but he did say, “It’s certainly our prerogative [to spend more than the allotment].”
A member of the Yankees organization (who requested anonymity) stated, “We consider it a strategic option. Whether we play it this year hasn’t been decided. At some point I would imagine we would. It might make sense.”
The Yankees have had their bit of luck in the international market: they signed Gary Sanchez for $2.5 Million, Robinson Cano (now of the Seattle Mariners) for $45,000 and Mariano Rivera for $3,000. I don’t think we’d see a signing of $3,000 in this day and age, but it would be interesting to see what the Yankees could bring with the amount of money they have.
“It’s a fascinating gambit,” said one competing scout who heard about the Yankees spending in the international market. “It’s one of the last areas where they can really flex their financial muscle.”