Category Archives: Offseason Moves

Moncada, and looking at 2020

Ok, here are some things from MLB Trade Rumors (see italics) concerning the Moncada to Boston deal. Boston gave him $31.5MM (which with the penalty is $63MM). The Yanks liked Moncada, Cashman wanted him, but upper management bid $25MM ($50MM with the penalty) and would go no higher than $27MM/$54MM with the penalty.

 

  • The Padres made an approximately $25MM offer to Moncada, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Brewers‘ were interested only to the $12MM to $15MM range, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. Milwaukee came in early with an offer, learned it would not be competitive, and then bowed out, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
  • Though the Giants were interested in Moncada, but not at his price tag, GM Brian Sabean tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). “We were involved, not as much as other teams,” said Sabean. “We’re not built for that. Nor is most of baseball.” That sounds similar to the fate of the Tigers, who as Chris Iott of MLive.com writes had legitimate interest but bowed out fairly early on. “We scouted him,” said assistant GM Al Avila. “We had him here for a private workout. Once we knew where the money was going, it was just a point that we had our money invested in other areas.”
  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) writes that Moncada would have been the first or second player taken in this year’s relatively weak draft, and profiles as a top-ten talent in any year. As Law notes, the signing could be a piece of a push for change, as the league looks to hold down the bonuses going to young Cuban ballplayers.

Now Moncada projects to a 2B (and Pedroia is already there) or 3B (Boston just signed Sandoval). My gut feeling is that Boston may want to move the heavyset Kung Fu Panda (Sandoval) to DH once the 39-year-old Ortiz retires, opening 3B up for Moncada. The Moncada signing also would lessen the blow should Boston put together a package of prospects and get Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

Earlier this morning, the Red Sox reportedly struck an agreement with Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, landing the 19-year-old switch-hitter with a $31.5MM signing bonus that will cost the team $63MM due to the 100 percent luxury tax it faces for exceeding its international bonus pool. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted shortly after the agreement was struck that the Yankees offered $25MM with a willingness to go to $27MM. Here are some more details on the tail end of a free agency that resulted in the largest signing bonus an international amateur has ever received…

  • The Dodgers never actually made a formal offer for Moncada, GM Farhan Zaidi tells Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register (Twitter links). Though general terms were discussed, the GM explained that Los Angeles weighed other considerations that tempered its interest: “There’s a lot of talent coming July 2. The calculus of that was a big part of our equation.”
  • Steinbrenner was “not the reason” that the Yankees didn’t go higher for Moncada, Matthews tweets, reversing his earlier report (see below).

Earlier Updates

  • The Yankees, Red Sox and Brewers were the three finalists for Moncada, tweets Sherman. However, the Dodgers may have offered the most money, but it came with a price; L.A. was willing to go to $35MM on the condition that Moncada wait until July 2 in order to sign. Doing so would have given the Dodgers unrestricted spending next period, giving them a shot at all the top prospects on the market without the Yankees and Red Sox to compete against. It’s also been reported that Yadier Alvares can’t sign before July 2, so the Dodgers likely could have made a run at both.
  • Indeed, Sherman tweets that the Dodgers are waiting until the new signing period begins on July 2 to spend significantly, and they plan to be very aggressive when that time comes.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman badly wanted to sign Moncada, tweets Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, but he couldn’t convince owner Hal Steinbrenner to spend any more than the reported $27MM figure. The GM told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link), that New York was asked to make its best offer yesterday. He was subsequently informed that it was not sufficient.
  • There was “a feeling from some” that Moncada wanted to end up with the Yankees, but the team simply viewed it as too risky to spend $60-70MM on a prospect, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York (All Twitter links). The Yankees feel that they can buy a proven Major Leaguer with that type of money in the future, and the Red Sox ultimately valued him more, Marchand adds.
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the Padres were also considered finalists along with the four teams mentioned by Sherman. One team involved in the bidding, Passan adds, was so confident in Moncada’s abilities that they believed him to be capable of jumping directly into the Majors. Instead, he’ll head to the lower levels of Boston’s minor league system.
  • Via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links), the Brewers‘ interest in Moncada was sincere. GM Doug Melvin believes that he was the first of any GM to submit a formal offer, but the team learned quickly that they wouldn’t be able to sign Moncada
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America notes (Twitter links) that some of the biggest winners in this scenario are Hector Olivera and next signing period’s crop of international amateurs. As Badlery points out, Olivera is being pursued by a number of teams who were also interested in Moncada, but the Red Sox aren’t involved in his market. Moncada signing with Boston means that Olivera didn’t lose a suitor. As for the rest of the international amateurs, they and their trainers are rejoicing, Badler says. The Red Sox were already over their bonus pool, so Moncada signing with them prevents another team (e.g. the Dodgers or Brewers) from going over their pool, giving the next wave of players another suitor.
Ok, we know that the Yanks are in a transition period, and their hands are really kind of tied until some people come off the books. I was hoping that Moncada would be signed with the Yanks as we look five years down the road. What could the Yanks be looking at in 2020 (20/20 vision?)? Best yet, these guys would be in their primes at that time. There is no guarantee any will make it or who may be traded away before then, but…
C Gary Sanchez, righty bat.  Brian McCann is signed through 2018 and has a $15MM team option for 2019. In 2020, McCann will turn 36, and if still with the team, may project better as a DH. Sanchez will be in his prime in 2020 at the age of 27. Sanchez will probably start this year at AAA SWB. Last year at AA Trenton, in 110 games, Sanchez hit .270-13-65.
1B Greg Bird, lefty bat. Mark Teixeira’s last year on his deal is next year, 2016. Teix, if he is still in baseball in 2020, would be 40 that year. I expect him not to be with the Yanks, if he is even in baseball in 2020. Bird would be 27 in 2020. He played in 102 games in 2014 between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton, hitting .271-14-43. In low A Charleston in 2013, he hit .288-20-84 and drew 107 walks. In 264 minor league games, well let’s divide by two. That gives 132…. and if we do that, he has averaged .283-18-70 and 94 walks. He had a great Arizona Fall League, and hopefully the power will develop further. That plate discipline is impressive.
2B Rob Refsnyder, righty bat. With a good spring, he could steal the job from Stephen Drew and open the season as the Yanks’ 2B. If Drew stinks like he did last year, and Refsnyder continues to rake, Refsnyder could take the job in midseason after starting the year at AAA. A converted OF, he may need some more work defensively at 2B, but his bat is impressive. He hit .318-14-63 between AA/AAA in 2014, 137 games. Refsnyder would be 29 in 2020.
SS Didi Gregorious, lefty bat. The just acquired SS would be only 30 in 2020. A defensive whiz, it still has to be proven whether he can hit. In 191 MLB games, he is at .243-13-57, which translates to a .243-11-48 162 g. average, OPS+ 88.
3B. Here is where it gets tricky. Here is where I wanted Moncada, a switch-hitter who would be 24 in 2020. So who COULD be here? Chase Headley is signed through 2018. He’d be 36 in 2020, so he, along with McCann, could be still on the team, and one, say McCann, could DH, and Headley could be backing up at 1B and 3B. But who would be at 3B? Two contenders:
Eric Jagielo, lefty bat. Would be 28 in 2020. In 146 minor league games, has 24 HR, 85 RBI but only a .259 average. .256-18-58 in 2014, 92 games, mostly at High-A Tampa.
Dante Bichette, Jr.  righty bat, would be 27 (28 at the end of the year).  .264-10-68 between High A Tampa and AA Trenton in 2014 in 127 games.
Both have shown some pop, Jagielo more so. But the batting averages haven’t been too impressive so far.
Brett Gardner has an option for 2019. He’d be 36, going on 37 in 2020. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be there in 2020.
Jacoby Ellsbury will be 36 going on 37 and he is still under contract for 2020. Somehow I think he will be there, but no longer in CF. I don’t see him in CF at that age. Maybe a move to LF.
Meaning the Yanks need to find a CF from a current minor leaguer, sign one, trade for one or sign a free agent CF.
RF. Aaron Judge, righty bat. Beltran will surely be gone by then, and Judge would be 28 (see all these players who would be in their primes?). Judge played in 131 games in 2014 between A and High A, hitting .308-17-78.
Looking at the starting rotation, the one thing lacking is a lefty. But Tanaka would be 30, Pineda 30, Nathan Eovaldi 30, Ivan Nova 33, Adam Warren 32 going on 33, Luis Severino 26.
As for the bullpen, Dellin Betances would be 32, and lefty stud prospect Jacob Lindgren 27.
So there is youth there that you hope develops, because they would be in their primes in 2020. The question is who will make it, who develops.
We don’t know who may be traded away. We don’t know what free agents may be signed between now and 2020. We don’t know whose careers get derailed because of injury.
But it would be refreshing to see a team where most of the players are in their prime years, not a team where most of the players have seen their better days.
You hope these prime years would be GOOD years and the players can develop into stars and not mediocrities.
Time will tell.

 

Forget about Moncada…. he goes to Boston.

I’ll have more tonight after I get home from work, but it’s Boston who lands prize prospect Yoan Moncada for $30MM. With the penalty, it’s $60MM for Boston (yes, the Yanks would have had to pay the 100% penalty also had they landed him).

Moncada, 19, is a switch-hitting infielder who is projected as a five-tool prospect at 2B or 3B. Probably a year or two from the majors. Yes, Boston has Pedroia at 2B and Sandoval (newly signed) at 3B but I’m wondering if, with Ortiz being 39 and Sandoval being heavy, they may have designs on the heavy Sandoval moving to DH once Ortiz retires with Moncada taking over at 3B.

More tonight after I get home from work.

One thing for sure. People arguing that “George would have signed him” need to face facts. The “Boss” is gone. 4 1/2 years or so now, and he wasn’t the “Boss”, what with his illness for a few years before his death. Hal isn’t his dad. Time to face that fact.

Odds and Ends.

Some odds and ends.

I saw an article that stated that according to insiders, Manager Joe Girardi did broach the subject of dropping Derek Jeter down in the batting order last season. Jeter hit just .256-4-50, OPS+ just 75 in his final season. The idea was shot down by upper management, and apparently Jeter wouldn’t go for moving him out of the #2 slot in the order either. Girardi knew that to do so would open a can of worms, so before it even hit the media, he apparently went through upper management and possibly Jeter himself. Would dropping Jeter have benefitted the Yanks? Possibly. Enough to make the playoffs? Possibly not. Enough to make the playoffs and soothe Jeter’s ego? Possibly not. But it’s interesting to note that the idea of dropping Derek (where to? 8? 9?) was considered.

Jason Giambi retired. He was with the Yanks from 2002-2008, hitting 209 of his 440 HR as a Yankee. Giambi, 44, hit 440 HR in his career, hit .277 with an excellent OPS+ of 139, won an MVP award with the A’s in 2000, was runner-up in 2001, and is one of five Yankees with back-to-back 40 HR seasons (2002 and 2003). He hit two homers off of Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. He won’t make the HOF however, because of his admitted PED usage and BALCO connection. It’s said he is a great teammate, and Terry Francona, manager of the Indians (Giambi’s most recent team) states that Giambi is a “manager in waiting.” His 162 g. average was .277-32-103, OPS+ 139, with 98 walks.

Alex Rodriguez issued a written “apology.” Really, I don’t want to hear it. Who believes anything he says or does anymore? He’s exhausted all credibility. Really, A-Rod, shut up and play. Show us you have something, if anything, left. It’s noted that he was suspended for all of 2014. What’s forgotten is that he played in only 44 games in 2013 and even then looked on the downside.

The Yanks signed Jared Burton to a minor league deal. The righty reliever is 33 and went 3-5, 4.36, ERA+ 91 in 2014 for the Twins with three saves. For his career he is 18-19, 3.44, 10 saves, ERA+ 123.  A depth move. He was 3-2 with a superb 2.18 ERA (ERA+ 189) and five saves for the Twins in 2012.

When I get time (I’ve been doing my taxes, need to do other family members taxes, working (of course) and …. well, shoveling snow and freezing my ass off…) I want to look at the future. I expect the Yanks to tread water for a while, but to me, the 2020 team could be interesting. Players (top prospects) would be in their primes (providing they prove MLB caliber players and aren’t traded away), old guys like CC, Teix, Beltran and A-Rod gone (maybe McCann as well)….it could be interesting to look at what could be the Yankee future. Stay tuned. Hopefully when Yoan Moncada signs (before the end of this month) I can include him on that 2020 future team I want to write about. Will the Yanks fork over the $$$$ to land Moncada?

Thoughts on Moncada

Before I get to Yoan Moncada, a recap of some events.

First, some passings. Legendary UNC college basketball coach Dean Smith passed away at age 83. Golfer Billy Casper, who won 3 majors, passed away also, as did the “Jackie Robinson of golf”, Charlie Sifford. Sifford was the first black on the PGA tour.

Continuing with golf for a moment, does anyone still think Tiger Woods will win another major? Maybe even another tournament? How the mighty have fallen.

Ok, on to the 19-year-old Moncada, a five-tool prospect who everyone thinks is just about major league ready. A switch-hitting prospect who would be a young stud in the way of a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper (ok, Harper has disappointed a bit so far).

But if the Yanks sign Moncada, they pay double because by signing something like 12 of the top 30 International Free Agents, they have a penalty. Not only that, but they are seriously restricted in the international free agent market for the next two years.

So the Yanks have to decide if Moncada is worth it. That worth, I think, would not only be on the diamond, but OFF it.

For who is the face of the Yankees now? (Please don’t say A-Rod). The Core Four is gone, and players like Teix, Beltran, Ellsbury, and McCann made their mark with other teams.

Gardner?

What I am saying is this. Moncada is young, talented, and could be the next Jeter, Rivera, Bernie or Posada, meaning someone who is a Yankee at a young age, stays with the Yankees his whole career, helps them win titles, is (like Jeter) a magnet for the girls, and becomes the face of the franchise.

That face of the franchise translates into marketability. For who do the Yankees market now? Tanaka? Betances? Who is their most marketable player now that the Core Four are gone?

That is why developing players like Severino, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and possibly winning the Yoan Moncada derby may be important—for success OFF the field (marketing a new core group of players) as well as ON the field.

For who is the face of the Yankees now? Who would YOU market?

International market, $$$ allocation, Moncada

An article as we await the Super Bowl.

Last year, the Yanks spent a lot on free agents Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran and Tanaka. This year, not so much. Drew, Headley… some “dumpster diving” for players like Baker… trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

But it doesn’t mean they haven’t been spending. The thing is, what are they spending on.

(Parts copied from today’s NY Post).

The Yanks splurged on the international market last July and they are already in the top penalty range for the year. Because of that, they are banned from spending more than $300,000 in the next two signing periods. The current signing period ends on June 15.

The Yanks have signed something like 12 of the top 30 free agents on the international market this year. 

Which brings us to 19 year old infielder Yoan Moncada, a switch-hitter most project as a 2B or 3B. Presently the Yanks have Headley at 3B (4 yr. deal), who could slide to 1B in two years when Teix’s deal runs out. You have Drew at 2B but only on a one-year deal. Refsnyder and Pirela are in the wings at 2B. Maybe Refsnyder or Pirela move to a corner OF position. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird are players to watch for. That’s just position players.

Moncada, should he sign with the Yanks (who had a private workout for him), would automatically surpass RHP Luis Severino and C Gary Sanchez as the Yanks’ #1 prospect in the eyes of many.

Working out a deal may take a while for the Cuban phenom. Maybe things are easier in the future what with the relations between the U.S. and Cuba changing, maybe not. But that deadline does loom.

And if the Yanks CAN land Moncada, maybe a coup. Maybe he can be a youngster the Yanks can build upon, much like Jeter in the mid-1990s. Maybe some of the other international free agents form a new “core four.” Yankees fans can only hope.

It isn’t too early to look toward 2020.

Maybe in 2020, that 20-20 hindsight (sorry, couldn’t resist) will prove that the vision of today was very clear indeed.

Just because $$$ wasn’t allocated to the MLB free agent market doesn’t mean it wasn’t allocated. It just may have been allocated a different way—instead of to MLB free agents on the downside, to youngsters on the upside, whose upside is several years away, and who would then be under team control salary-wise for a while.

Here is hoping the Yanks sign Moncada, and he becomes a star along with some other of those players from this year’s spending on the international market.

 

Low risk, high reward again.

The Yanks signed RHP Scott Baker, 33, to a minor league contract. Baker will make $1.5 MM if he makes the major league team. It’s another low-risk, high -reward signing by the Yanks. Trying to catch lightning in a bottle, so to speak.

Baker has a career record of 66-52, 4.25, ERA+ 99. Average. His 162 g. average is 32 starts, 4 relief appearances, 12-10, 4.25 with that average ERA+ of 99. One problem—a propensity to give up the long ball.

Baker was 38-22, 4.11 from 2008-2010, ERA+ 103 for the Twins. He won 15 games in 2009. In 2011, he was 8-6, 3.14 when he injured his elbow and required TJ surgery. he missed all of 2012, started 3 games in 2013 for the Cubs, and spent 2014 with Texas. He was 3-4, 5.47, ERA+ 71 in 25 games, 8 of them starts.

We’ll see what he has in spring training if he makes the team. Odds are that he either goes to AAA for pitching depth in case of an injury to a rotation member or gets released.

But a low risk, high reward signing.

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, dies at 83.

Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, died at the age of 83. He would have turned 84 on January 31st.

Banks hit 512 HR in his career, all with the Chicago Cubs, that lasted from 1953-1971. He has the record for most games played without ever playing in the postseason. From 1953-1966, Banks played on only one team that had a winning record, and that team was 82-80.

Nevertheless, Banks became the first NL player to win back-to-back MVPs when he did so in 1958 and 1959. While mostly known as a SS, Banks moved to 1B in 1961 and played more games at 1B than SS.

Banks hit 40 HR or more in five of the six seasons from 1955-1960. He led the majors in HR in 1958 and 1960 and in RBI in 1958 and 1959.

Meanwhile, a couple Yankee-related news items. Eury Perez, DFA’d by the Yanks, signed with Atlanta. He had a “cup of tea” with the Yanks last year, going 2 for 10.

Ichiro Suzuki, 41, signed a one-year deal with the Marlins to be a backup OF.