So Yoan Moncada signed with Boston. Yes, I understand this is old news, as Jed did a good job reporting on it while also talking about how not signing Moncada wasn’t dooming. I don’t agree with him, yet I also don’t disagree with him:
Moncada is a Top 10-15 prospect in baseball. In this draft year, he would have been either the top pick or the second pick, according to Keith Law. Law also stated that regardless of how strong the draft class would be, Moncada would still be a Top 10 pick. The Yankees haven’t picked in the Top 10 since they drafted a HOF in Derek Jeter with the sixth overall pick in 1992. In the remaining years, the Yankees have never drafted higher than 13th, which they did the year after drafting Jeter. So the Yankees don’t have the opportunity to get elite players, especially with how the CBA is now.
While the Yankees went bananas this year with their international free agents, none of them are close to the talent of Moncada. It’s easy to say that because they are 17-year-old kids who likely will be sent to the Gulf Coast League. Most of the players they got will never make the majors, while some might not even reach Trenton. Is that a bad investment for the $30 million that they spent. No. It is just the facts and the Yankees knew that. They threw down a bunch of lotto tickets and are hoping that one of them players turns into a regular, which will get all the value of the $30 million in the first three years. If two hit, it was the best $30 million the Yankees have spent in a very long time.
While the Yankees are already over the penalty, Moncada is the only big name that was left on the table for them to sign for to years. They are out of all the Cubans as a rule that most of MLB didn’t know about applies to the recent Cuban players. Yadier Alvarez, who most think might get close to what Moncada, just got won’t be able to sign until after July 2 because of a procedural rule that MLB has. So the Yankees have no shot at him or any other Cuban player that would fall under international rules for two years. Also, they can’t sign any player over $300,000 for the next two years. While the Yankees have phenomenal scouts in the Dominican and have found a ton of talent for players around that range, that does mean they aren’t in on the big players.
I think the Yankees thought if they didn’t get Moncada fans wouldn’t care. It seems to have been the opposite. Almost immediately fans were up in arms, which I think the Yankees saw which is why you saw a bunch of stories come out, especially after Cashman said he wanted to go higher than the $25-27 million that was offered. Keep this in mind. The Yankees either have the most money in baseball or the second-most money in baseball. Reports are the Padres, a low-revenue team who haven’t had a $100 million payroll, offered the same amount. Just let that sink in for a second.
Hal recently scoffed at the Yankees being not a big spender. But I don’t know if that really is the case. The Yankees have a big payroll because of outlays that were made before Hal took over. Is he going to reinvest that much money when A Rod, CC and Teixera’s contracts go away, which is taking up $81 million. Signs point to no, or at least it is seems that way on the outside looking in.
The cost of $50-70 million to normal people seems like a lot, but in terms of players value it isn’t that much. To make that up, Moncada would only have to add another win a season in the first three years for the Yankees to be even. I’m assuming a $7 million win-above-replacement, which is on the low end for what free agents got this year. So in that scenario, Moncada would have had to go from seven wins above replace to 10 wins above replacement. There is data that shows that a Top 10 positional prospect is worth way more than that.
Yes, prospects fail but so do major-league players. Brian McCann was a failure in his first year, and the only reason his numbers look good is because of his pitch framing ,which most stats people will tell you they don’t know how much value that really adds. You can make a case that McCann was a 1-win player, which means he was a net negative 10 million to the Yankees.
This tweet really shows you how the Yankees are behind the times with the ways teams need to be built.
Yanks feeling was they can buy a proven MLBer for $60M or $70M
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) February 23, 2015
The list has 10 players, none of which are going to sign for anything less than $90 million. What the Yankees would be getting with Moncada is a chance to get an elite potential guy who could be a franchise player. There is a chance with his contract that he could add value. With most free-agent contracts, the teams are paying for past performance and aren’t ever as valuable as the contract before their free-agent year.
Yes, the Yankees have a bunch of talent in the system compared to years passed, but they don’t have a Top 10 prospect. They haven’t had a Top 10 top positional prospect since Jesus Montero, who was flawed because he couldn’t play any defense. People have said look at Jorge Mateo. Mateo is a potentially very good player and could turn into a top talent. He has to stay healthy and play on the field. He hasn’t done that. All the tools are there for him to be very good, but he has played 15 games in the states. Let’s not rush to judgement here.
So in conclusion I will say this. I think not signing Moncada was a stupid move that won’t cripple the franchise. Was it very short-sighted of the Yankees to take this stance and the reports that came out afterwards following what happened. Yes. It seems the Yankees have one plan and that’s all, to make the owners money. It’s a fine plan if that is your plan, but don’t sell the fans that it’s World Series or bust, or that you are going to do everything you can to build a championship team because that isn’t true.You wouldn’t go $10 million more for a player many Yankees scouts loved, and who you brought in for three workouts.