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Yankees set to go crazy in international market

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Jim McIsaac

The Yankees plan to go berzerk in next year's international amateur free agent market. More berzerk, in fact, than the Cubs did last year, when they signed the top two prospects, plus several other highly-rated ones. All that spending for Eloy Jimenez, Gleyber Torres, Jen-Ho Tseng and others cost $7.895 million. The Yankees plan to spend $12-15 million, incurring $10 million or more in taxes in the process.

That will essentially shut them down in international spending for two years after that. Still, this is farcical, and it's no accident that two big-market teams will be the first to do this to this degree. (The Rays outspent their bonus pool by 28 percent in 2012.) They're behaving perfectly rationally, in that they're willing to pay premium prices for international talent. The Cubs dominated the international market last year. If more than one team decides to do this next year, there won't be any really highly-regarded international prospects left for teams that try to stay within their bonus pools. And then we're right back to a free-for-all, except now the teams that dare to get premium talent have to pay a 100 percent tax on most of it (and then they can't spend crazily for a couple years after that). That 100 percent tax is a much more severe deterrent for small-market teams than for larger-market ones.

-P- At MLBTR today, I also wrote about changes in the closer market. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan both came up.