Yankees And Dodgers Take The Lead On International Free Agent Market

hal-steinbrenner1-540x361The Yankees, according to rival international scouts, are planning to splurge on foreign amateurs during the 2013-14 signing period. They already have surpassed their bonus pool allotment of $1,877,000, and rival clubs expect them to possibly incur the maximum penalties for exceeding the spending limit, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The Yankees’ strategy should not come as a surprise, writes Rosenthal. considering the depleted state of their farm system. The Cubs and Rangers went over the limit in 2012-13, knowing the penalties would not be as severe as they will be if baseball ever adopts an international draft.

As it stands, the Yankees already have signed Dominican center fielder Leonardo Molina for $1.4 million and Dominican shortstop Yonauris Rodriguez for $550,000, according to reports. The signing period began last July 2, and will continue into next summer.

The penalties kick in once a team goes 5 percent over its limit; the Yankees’ two signings put them at 3.8 percent. A team that exceeds it by 15 percent or more pays a 100-percent tax and cannot spend more than $250,000 on a player in the next signing period.

Apparently the Yankees believe this class of international players is stronger than the next one. Or, they are simply eager to amass talent as quickly as possible.

Yasiel-PuigThe Dodgers have also been among the most aggressive teams in the International arena. They have recently signed Cuban second base phenom Alex Guerrero to a $28 million deal and are already reaping the rewards of one the baseball’s brightest stars in Yasiel Puig.

Los Angeles also signed both its Cuban-born draft picks, left-handers Onelki Garcia (3rd round) and Alfredo Unzue (32nd round), and non-drafted free agent catcher Selme Angulo from Cuba. After announcing the International signings of pitchers Lenix Osuna, Victor Gonzalez and William Soto and catcher Julian Leon. Dodger Assistant General Manager Logan White announced, “We are pleased to announce we have been extremely active in the July 2nd signing period and have signed multiple players with more on the horizon,” said White.

On the Japanese front, both the Dodgers and Yankees are considered the heavy favorites to land Masahiro Tanaka – especially with the posting fee not having to count toward luxury taxes.

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