Thursday, February 6, 2014

The original story that the Yankees were planning to go over their 2014 cap allotment was essentially broken by Kiley McDaniel at While Kiley broke the story weeks ago, other reporters and news sites are now picking it up. Yesterday, ESPN New York wrote an article stating that the team was expected to make a huge splash into the 2014 international free agent market.

The figure reported by ESPN New York was about $18 million. This would be more than double what the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers spent last year, a year where the both teams signed several top free agents. This figure would allow the team to acquire even more top-end talent than the Cubs did.

Though it's unclear if any of the top players in this years class of players are as good as Eloy Jimenez or Gleyber Torres or Yeyson Yrizarri, the fact that the Yankees waited to flex their financial muscle suggests that they feel this years class is very strong.

There are several risks and benefits for this type of strategy. The biggest risk is the penalty they will receive for going over the limit. Not only will the Yankees have to pay a tax on overage, they will be severely restricted from signing International free agents for the next two seasons. The maximum contract the Yankees would be able to give out after going over the cap would be $300,000. This restriction would last two seasons.

This risk is mitigated by the fact that the MLB is thinking of getting rid of the IFA system and creating a draft. Considering the Yankees are always one of the best teams in baseball this would mean that they would miss out on elite talent anyways. So essentially all the Yankees need to do is to sign more two elite players to make up for the restrictions.

While some would say the high amount of money is a separate risk, I don't think Yankee fans should really care about that. It's not like the team decided to cut payroll and than invest in 16 year old players. The Yankees have taken this kind of risk before, as just last year they gambled that amount on the hopes that Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkillis could be productive.

Essentially there is very little risk. Which is why the Yankees decided to break IFA cap, and not the draft cap. Breaking the draft cap could result in the lost of more than one draft pick, and it's very hard to plan for something like that.

That is why no team has yet to go well overslot in the draft, and a few have already broken the IFA cap.

The Yankees apparently already spent quite a deal of money and still have more to spend. The strategy I feel they should be taking is spreading the money across several prospects. They should still go for some top guys, but at the end of the day it is really hard to scout 16 year old prospects, so sometimes quantity beats quality. Some of the best players signed out of the IFA class were small signings. Xander Boegarts, Oscar Taveras are two big examples of this.

This shows why it is important for the Yankees to keep on eye out for bargains and not to just sign the biggest names regardless of their cost. The Yankees seem to do to this well as some of their best prospects are low-key IFA signings. If the Yankees stick to same strategy that landed them Abiatal Avelino, Thairo Estrada, Luis Severino and others they should be okay.

By spreading the money around the Yankees would be increases the odds that they don't have a bad class. If they spend 20 million and their best prospect turns out to be a small signing who is easily a top 100 prospect, no one will really care about the amount they spent. In 2011 the Rangers did this exact same strategy and their best current prospect from that class is Rougned Odor, who had a tiny signing bonus.

The benefits of such a move are obvious, this might be the Yankees last chance to dominate the IFA market, and by flexing their financial muscle they would be getting talent they would have been forced to pass over in previous years.  This is why the team should try to sign as many players as possible.

Such a move would help restock the system in two years. Though it should be noted that even some of the best IFA talent will have trouble breaking into a systems top 20 right away. So this strategy could help the system in 2016, but wouldn't impact how people view the system in 2014.

Currently I feel the system is rated pretty lowly because of injuries, but like Marc Hulet from Fangraphs, I feel the talent currently in the system could rebound, or breakthrough to the point where the Yankees have a top system again by next season.

So by the time these players make an impact the Yankees system could be a lot stronger than it is right now. This is important as you don't want the Yankees to sign big risky players just to change the outlook of the system. You would want them to try to guage the best overall player based and focus on not overpaying for talent. As long as the Yankees sign two top ten players, fans should be content with the strategy.

At the moment it is hard to find non-protected information on the players the Yankees are rumored to have signed. But that information has been made available by Kiley McDaniel on his website. If you subscribe to read his stuff you will find videos and analysis on some of the best players in the 2014 IFA class. 

Considering Mcdaniel's website is very strict on users sharing information I will not reveal anything that can't be found elsewhere, but I will highly recommend signing up now or near July 2nd to find out some more information.

However, I was able to find information on four Yankee targets that wasn't behind a pay-wall. According to Juan Mercado from El Dia, four of the Yankee targets are Dermis Garcia, Christopher Torres, Nelson Gomez, and Juan De Leon.

Garcia, Torres, are both shortstops; Gomez is a third-baseman; Juan De Leon  is an outfielder. Garcia is the headliner from this group and got over 3 million dollars according to McDaniel. Garcia is reportedly one of the better prospects in this IFA class. 

Here's the Spanish link talking about some of these rumors.

I personally do not know how reliable this newspaper is, but once again it should be noted that Kiley has a lot more information on his site that talks about about a lot of different players.

The link to his archive can be found here:

One intriguing name that should be mentioned is Huascar Ynoa, the brother of Michael Ynoa. Huascar has recieved praise from both Ben Badler, Kiley McDaniel and other sources and appears to be the best pitcher available. While things do change, he will probably get a big bonus once July 2nd comes.

According to Mcdaniel's latest free artcicle Ynoa doesn't have a deal in place but should get 2 million, because he has an advanced changeup, an improving curveball, and a fastball that is over 90 MPH. While it would be nice to sign the arguably the best hitting and pitching prospect I don't think fans should be dissapointed if they don't. Even if they spend 20 million they can't sign the entire country.

According to El Dia, they spent 10 million on four players, so they still have a lot of money left. As we get closer to July 2nd we will hear more information on who the best players in the class are, and some new names will emerge as breakout stars. Because of this the Yankees would be wise not to spend all their money at once.


Josh Sabo is a Minor League writer for Yanks Beat Blog.


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