Mixed in with big moves pulled off at the deadline may be a low-key hint that the New York Yankees have big plans this offseason.
The New York Yankees were the clear-cut winners of the 2017 trade deadline.
Adding Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to a bullpen that already features Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman was one thing. But to add Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia to a rotation in need of depth? No one had a better July than Brian Cashman.
However, there was a flurry of moves aside from the trades that made the Yankees favorites to win the American League East. Moves that give us an indication that Cashman may have more magic up his sleeves.
Along with obtaining Sonny Gray on Monday, New York received $1.5 million in international bonus pool money in exchange for Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian. Earlier that day, the Yankees also traded right-handed pitching prospect Yefry Ramirez to the Baltimore Orioles for an undetermined amount of international bonus pool money.
Earlier in the month, New York also sent right-hander Matt Wotherspoon to Baltimore for international signing bonus pool money.
This is important because the 2017-18 international signing period will be the first year the new rules — part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in effect from 2017-21 — will be applied.
For those who need a crash course, Baseball America does a pretty solid job in nailing it down. But, here’s an explanation of the Yankee side of things.
New York has a bonus pool of $4.75 million and is allowed to trade for up to 75 percent of their original pool distribution. That gives them a maximum of $8,212,500 allowed to spend on international talent. Otani, right? Well, not so fast.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the Yankees agreed to a $1.5 million deal with Venezuelan outfielder Everson Pereira and a $900,000 deal with shortstop Robert Chirinos of Venezuela. Both are ranked inside MLBPipeline.com’s Top 30 International Prospects list.
Adding up all the international prospects (listed in the report link) the Yankees signed according to the report, the Yankees have already spent $4,280,000. If they were to max out their 75 percent of their original pool allowed to add, they would have just $3,982,500 million to spend. Even considering the money they added up, it would take a lot more than that to give Otani what he’s valued at.
In 2016, the 23-year-old slashed .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs at the plate and went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA on the hill. Hence the Ruthian comparisons.
All things considered, it will take a lot more than $3.98 million to pry Otani from Japan, let alone to New York when so many other teams can offer up to $10 million. It’s a long-shot and although it’s fun to think about Japan’s Babe Ruth be part of the franchise that employed the Babe Ruth, this collection of extra cash is probably not going toward the Shohei Ohtani savings account
Perhaps Cashman is collecting in order to go after a couple more top international prospects. The money already acquired is more than enough to ink prospects like Raimfer Salinas (No. 6 by MLB Pipeline) or catcher Antonio Cabello (No. 8), who are both available to be signed.
While those top prospects are within the price range, Otani is not. And there’s very little chance that the Yankees cough up enough dough to bring him to the Bronx if he were to come over to the United States in 2018.
Math explanation: Took the $4,750,000 (original bonus pool), and added the max allowed to add (75 percent), leaving the Yankees with a max of $8,262,500 in international cash. Then, I subtracted the amount the Yankees already spent according to Sanchez’s report ($4,280,000). That leaves the Yankees with $3,982,500 left to spend on international free agents.