Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Yankeetorial: We have a month to sign a pile of international free agents, and then we're in with everybody else
Posted by el duque at 9:12 AM
A: Give them a baseball team.
Yesterday, the Yankees had one pick in the top 60 of the annual free agent cattle auction. Practically every team we consider a rival had two or three, and also drafted well in front of us. As Kurt would say, so it goes.
Why do Boston, California, et al, always have more early draft picks? They game the system. Why don't we game the system? I dunno, but we don't.
For years, we've gamed a secondary system: The international free agent market, which basically means the buying and selling of 16-year-old boys. It's pretty immoral, but hey - that's baseball. The Texas Rangers do it much better than we do. In fact, they sign 14 year olds - or at least they get caught doing it.
Next month, baseball imposes new restrictions on the signing of foreign talent. I'm not sure whether this means teams can no longer sign 16-year-old Latinos. I'd like to think it does. It probably doesn't. What it does do is impose restrictions on how much teams can spend on Latino boys. That's all the billionaires care about: Putting a salary cap on talent.
So the Yankees - who had one draft pick out of 60 yesterday - and who drafted a pitcher (we historically destroy young pitchers) - now have a month to buy Latino boys before the new rules kick in.
There is a kid named Jose Soler out there, a Cuban who is 19, and he plays outfield. The Yankees supposedly like him. We have no real OF talent in the minors beyond low Single A. It seems a perfect match - us and him.
So it becomes a central question for the future of this team: Do the owner heirs intend to win, or do they intend to bank their money, play along with all the others, draft one out of 60 every June and eventually get replaced by the teams that creep over the line?
Everybody else this year has to pony up for high draft picks. We should have money left over for international free agents. Are we going to spend it?