The hot stove has been reduced to a warm blanket across Major League Baseball as the free agent market continues to stall. With a deal that brought free-agent, veteran infielder, Danny Espinosa to the Yankees on Monday, January has been a big month for the club in free-agent and international signings. If you’ve finished laughing, it’s worth taking a look at where the Yankees stand on January 30th in regards to the free agent and international market.
With Gleyber Torres expected to win the starting 2B job, but not expected to start the season with the big league club, a battle will ensue for the starting role and the eventual backup/utility infielder jobs. Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade, Jace Peterson (free-agent acquired January 11th) and, now, veteran Danny Espinosa will all likely compete to fill the vacancy at second base.
Left-handed free-agent Wade LeBlanc, who pitched for the Pirates last season, was acquired on January 16th and is expected to battle it out with Chasen Shreve for the lefty bullpen reliever spot.
On January 17th and 18th, the Yankees signed seven international prospects, five pitchers and two position players:
RHP Victor Santana, 6’1, 187 lbs, 18 years old, Dominican Republic
CF Madison Santos, 5’10, 165 lbs, 18 years old, Dominican Republic
RHP Sammy Tavarez, 6’6, 190 lbs, 19 years old, Dominican Republic
RHP Yon Castro, 6’1, 195 lbs, 18 years old, Dominican Republic
RHP Felix Alonzo, 6’2, 185 lbs, 18 years old, Dominican Republic
C Carlos Rodriguez, 6’0, 170 lbs, 18 years old, Venezuela
RHP Carlos Santana, 6’7, 195, age 19, Dominican Republic
A quick glimpse of this list reveals two big right-handers with Tavarez at 6’6 and Santana at 6’7 who it will be interesting to follow as they rise through the organization.
In December, the Yankees signed two top international prospects out of Venezuela, Raimfer Salinas and Antonio Cabello.
Salinas is a 16 year old outfielder who was the No. 10 international prospect for July in the 2017 class. Robert Pimpsner of Pinstriped Prospects has described Salinas as “a right-handed hitting outfielder that is best known for his bat according to MLB Pipeline. It is believed that he has the potential to become a five-tool player in the future.”
Cabello is a 17 year old catcher who was ranked No. 15 on Baseball America’s rankings of the top 50 international prospects. Pimpsner has said of Cabello, that he “is considered one of the most athletic prospects in the international free agent class. He is a catcher right now but can also play second base and center field.”
According to Baseball America, “that gives the Yankees five of BA’s top 20 international prospects from the 2017 class, including Venezuelan outfielder Everson Pereira (the No. 5 prospect on BA’s top 50), Dominican shortstop Ronny Rojas (the No. 11 prospect) and Venezuelan shortstop Roberto Chirinos (the No. 20 prospect). Dominican outfielder Anthony Garcia, the No. 28 international prospect for 2017, also signed with the Yankees this summer.”
The addition of international prospect signings bolsters one of the game’s strongest farm systems, one that’s rich in top prospects. The free-agent signings to date have been moves to add depth and additional veteran presence to the club.
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