The Yankees have been one of the most aggressive teams on the international free agent market for the past several seasons, and they’ve already put the considerable amount of international funds they acquired in trades with the Cardinals ($1MM) and the White Sox ($1.5MM); New York announced today that it has signed Cuban righty Osiel Rodriguez and Cuban shortstop Alexander Vargas. Rodriguez’s $600K signing had previously been reported, but MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (via Twitter) that the newly signed Vargas received a whopping $2.5MM bonus. Vargas, 16, ranked eighth on MLB.com’s rankings of this year’s international prospects, drawing praise for his range, arm and instincts both at shortstop and in center field.
A few more notes on the international market…
- Sanchez also recently took a lengthy look at the latest on the market for top outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa. While the Cuban-born star has yet to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, there’s a fair bit of intrigue as to where he’ll sign once eligible. Victor Victor and his younger brother, Victor Jr., are both training in the Dominican Republic at present, according to Sanchez, but there’s no indication that either has established residency in another a country — a requisite step before being declared a free agent by MLB. Sanchez runs through the teams that are plausible landing spots for the brothers and takes a look at their potential timelines to signing.
- Interestingly, Sanchez further notes that the Orioles and Marlins could be in line to make a significant play for Mesa (Twitter links). Both teams acquired international money prior to the non-waiver deadline and are interested in increasing their spending on the international front. The Orioles have a hefty $8.25MM they can offer, though it’s worth noting that GM Dan Duquette has suggested they could sign some international prospects as soon as this week (link via MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski). With the Mesas yet to reach free agency, that’d suggest that they’re not earmarking their entire pool one or both brothers. The Marlins, meanwhile, have $4.35MM to work with at present — the second-most of any team that is not limited to $300K signings. The Athletic’s Emily Waldon reported recently that the Orioles were working hard on a deal with the elder Mesa brother (Twitter link). MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr tweeted that the Marlins are indeed planning a run at him as well, though he added that the Orioles could be closer. Of course, no deal can be announced until the league declares the Mesa brothers to be free agents, and there’s no real way of knowing when that process will be complete.