Josh Byrnes, presumably warning fools about the upcoming international signing period.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
A few days ago I looked at the fact that the Dodgers are hot for 18 year old Cuban right hander, Yadier Alvarez, while that article was discussing the theory behind such a move (it also mentioned the draft strategy for 2015 which seems to be “buy all available draft picks”). It was mostly speculation, and seeing as though the new signing period is still 3 months away, we we have information on the international front as reported by Kiley McDaniel of fangraphs.
"I’ve heard from multiple international scouts that believe the Dodgers already have a deal with Alvarez for $16 million (which would cost the Dodgers $32 million total, due to the dollar-for-dollar tax by MLB on 23 and under international prospects), but his reps deny a deal is done. Alvarez can’t sign right now anyway and, while a deal may not be done, everyone I’ve talked to thinks Alvarez will end up with the Dodgers"
Alvarez, is of course, Yadier Alvarez, the Cuban defector who’s just 18 years old but, his fastball touches 98 miles per hour, it’s not Tyler Kolekian, but top 18 year old prospects don’t come anywhere near that, generally. This reflects most notably in McDaniel’s evaluation of him, calling him the 57th best prospect in the game when he signs in the big leagues.
Multiple places are saying the same thing about him, as far as his talent is concerned, live fastball, plus slider, good changeup and a long way to go. Just because he won’t be ready doesn’t mean he isn’t worth the investment of 32 million dollars. The Red Sox just paid 62.5 million dollars for a player they’ve never seen play regularly in Yoan Moncada, the Diamondbacks just paid 16.5 million for Yoan Lopez, talent is talent and when you can get talent that would normally be drafted in the first round for just money, teams should be all over it.
The deal isn’t done, of course, lots could change in the course of 2 and half months, but the Dodgers have seemingly committed to go overboard in the next international signing period, Starling Heredia and Ronny Brito highlight this point.
Heredia has been covered by prospect aficionado, Dustin Nosler before, and basically, he is more polished and possesses more talent than most 16 year olds. Seems good. While “Starling Heredia” is, of course, an underwhelming name considering the Dodgers have signed Barbaro Erisbel Arruebarrena, Casio Grider, Osiris Ramirez, Jairo Pacheco in the past, his talent appears to be greater than anybody on this list. He’s been called the best player in his class, so a $3 million dollar pricetag isn’t surprising.
And finally, that’s a 2 million dollar expected pricetag on Brito
"Brito is rumored to be another of the Dodgers targets and the rumor is that he’ll get a bonus of $2 million. He has Manny Ramirez-like swing mechanics (though obviously not the same hitting tools) with some bat speed and the ability to stick in the dirt, but likely not at shortstop"
Just like that, “Manny Ramirez-like” swing mechanics are the new market inefficiency. In all seriousness, Brito would cover up the ~2 million the Dodgers have to spend on the international market in their bonus pool alone. And assuming that the Dodgers trade for no more bonus pool dollars, they would have to pay
$38 million dollars with Alvarez and Heredia costing that alone. But that’s not it,
"There’s about 10 seven-figure July 2nd players that aren’t committed, but the Dodgers could still scoop up a few more and also any Cuban that strikes their fancy, so this one is far from over"
So I thought the Dodgers would try to get lots of talent on July 2nd, and I figured the Dodgers knew that if they were going to go over their bonus pool, they might as well sign everybody, but to hear it from a reliable source is fun. The Dodgers basically bought a draft pick in trading with the Orioles, which just means the Dodgers bought young talent using their “financial might” in ways that other teams can’t/won’t.
Similarly, the Dodgers are going to use their financial strength to get young talent via the international market, this spending spree in the upcoming international signing period was expected, and yet it’s still really really fun.