Yanks open international signing period with spree
Club agrees with nine of top 25 prospects, could face penalty for exceeding bonus pool
The New York Yankees made their presence felt with an international spending spree on Wednesday, the first day international free agents could sign with teams.
According to industry sources, New York agreed to terms with several highly regarded international prospects, including shortstop Dermis Garcia, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list for a $3 million signing bonus, along with Dominican third baseman Nelson Gomez (ranked No. 2) for $2.25 million, Dominican outfielder Juan DeLeon (No. 5) for $2 million, Venezuelan outfielders Jonathan Amundaray (No. 7) for $1.5 million and Antonio Arias (No. 9) for $800,000.
Additionally, sources indicate the Yankees also agreed to terms with Korean shortstop Hyo-Jun Park, ranked No. 13, for $1.1 million, along with Venezuelan shortstops Wilkerman Garcia (No. 14) for $1.35 million and Diego Castillo (No. 16) for $750,000. The Yankees also agreed to terms with Venezuelan catcher Miguel Flames, ranked No. 25, for $1 million, and they added outfielder Frederick Cuevas from the Dominican Republic for $300,000.
In all, the Yankees spent more than $14 million on those players alone.
The Yankees have not confirmed the signings, but they could end up paying a high price for the young prospects.
In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team's record in 2013 for the international signing period. New York's bonus pool total for this year's signing period is $2,193,100, which means Wednesday's signings would result in a penalty.
Teams that exceed the pools by up to 5 percent have to pay a 100 percent tax, and teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period, and they must pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage.
In the most severe penalty, teams that exceed the pool by more than 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100 percent tax on the pool overage.
As for Garcia, he was the highlight of this year's crop and made a name for himself with his big frame, big raw power and a big arm. Many scouts said he had the best power and the best arm in the entire class of international prospects this year.
He is expected to have a plus arm in the future, and he's been compared to Twins prospect Miguel Sano, a teenage Alex Rodriguez and a young Shawon Dunston. There is room for improvement on defense, and Garcia is expected to become a more disciplined hitter with experience.
Gomez gained a reputation as a pure hitter and is considered the best offensive player in this year's international signing class. He's been praised for his plate discipline and has a knack for squaring up the ball. He has shown the ability to hit for power to all fields.
DeLeon might have the best all-around combination of tools and body among outfielders in this year's class from the Dominican Republic, and some consider Amundaray the top Venezuelan prospect in an impressive class of players from the country this year.
Arias has been compared to a young Cameron Maybin and has the potential to hit for some power when he matures and receives regular instruction at the team's academy. Park, who would be the first Korean-born player for the Yankees, is an all-around shortstop who has five-tool potential.
Then there's Wilkerman Garcia, who could be better suited for second base or even third base because of his versatility and arm strength. He's known for his strong footwork, good hands and fluid movement on defense.
Castillo grew up admiring Derek Jeter and has one of the strongest arms in the class. He's known for his good footwork and soft hands on defense and a line-drive swing at the plate.
Flames is a former third baseman who has come into his own behind the plate and is now regarded as one of the top catchers on the international market.