The final numbers for the 2014-2015 spending period are in and the Yankees blew the rest of the teams out of the water. Over at Baseball America, Ben Badler the international prospect guru published a story showing how much every team spent on international free agents.
What is interesting is that the Yankees destroyed their bonus pool by over $15.5 million. That means that they will have spent just north of $33 million on international free agents. This was a market inefficiency that the Yankees exploited. While other teams had gone over their bonus pools no one had done what the Yankees did.
Was the strategy smart? Yes it was as they got around 10 of the top 30 prospects that BA and MLB had identified. In a normal year they would typically get 1 top talent with a few other prospects mixed in. So they paid the price and got 10 of the top talents that were available with the penalty of paying a 100% penalty on anything over their pool allotment which was $2,193,000. In addition to that they also can’t sign another player for over $300,000 for two years.
That normally would cripple a different organization the Yankees have great Latin America scouts who find gems that other teams don’t get to see or can’t find. Jorge Mateo and Luis Severino are some of the latest finds that the Yankees have been able to find for less than $300,000. This means that they will still get to sign under the radar players and when you are finding these players it is the largest crap shoot as they sign players typically at 15 with tons of projection left.
So this investment is great for the farm system and will help the Yankees farm system improve while allowing players room to grow which will either help them as players as trade chips. This last spending spree right now looks great. Now the players have to be developed so they are more than just names on a page with dollar signs near their names.