As I discuss in today’s article, I’m not sure what to expect as far as players that will sign today and what information will be available.
9:57 AM: The Cardinals will be announcing their signings in a press conference at the Hilton in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at 10:30 AM, with a press release coming soon thereafter.
10:25 AM: It’s been confirmed to me that the Yankees have signed Dominican catcher Gary Sanchez, although I still haven’t been able to get a concrete number on the bonus. Every estimate has been very close to $3.0 million and I was told today that was the correct number, give or take a bit. So it’s basically $3.0 million, Yankee fans. Also, I’m told the Yankees will be spending $4 million total this July 2nd, on three players, and I’m told the other two players are a shortstop and pitcher. The shortstop is widely believed to be Damian Arredondo, who should be getting a bonus in the $800-900,000 range (report on him in today’s article) and some think the pitcher is Venezuelan righty Jose Osuna. Deductive math would say that, if it’s Osuna, he would get $150-200,000, which is about where I had his potential bonus pegged, anyway. I’ll keep digging on this one.
11:07 AM: Three more signings to report, two for less money than expected and one for what I expected. The Brewers have inked RF Jose Pena for $400,000, the Yankees have signed RHP Chris Cabrera for $400,000, and it was confirmed that the Yankees reached a deal with SS Damian Arredondo for $850,000. I’m told Sanchez, Arredondo and Cabrera will be the only three signings by the Yankees today, so Jose Osuna is now out of the picture. Two reactions to these pieces of news:
1. Steal by the Brewers. I had a chance to see Pena in action and while some of the $1 million talk could have been misinformation or marketing by people trying to pump his value, Pena is a very nice buy at this price for Milwaukee.
2. Turns out it wasn’t exactly $4 million the Yankees were going to spend, but actually $4.25 million (or so, with the Sanchez bonus being a slight gray area). Cue Yankee blogs discussing whether this was some sort of statement by the club about Ynoa’s price last year and whether they’d take Ynoa or the Sanchez/Arredondo/Cabrera trio.
11:10 AM: BREAKING: A source close to the situation says that 21-year-old Cuban LHP Aroldis Chapman indeed has defected. There were conflicting reports about the accuracy of a report yesterday at cubaencuentro.com about Chapman defecting. I’ll continue digging for more details.
11:53 AM: I’ll take a second here to say that there has been a lot of speculation about the macroeconomics involved in this year’s complicated July 2nd market. I’ve got about 4000 words written on the topic that will be coming in a long-form series soon, but it’s too early to take these couple signings as empirical evidence one way or another. There was widespread speculation (and almost universal agreement) in March and April that this year’s talent was clearly down from last year, particularly at the top of the class. When the this year’s bonuses come out over the next few weeks, I don’t expect a record-breaking bonus, but the results should stack up nicely to last year’s totals and may very well be higher. Were scouts just downplaying the talent to keep costs down? Nope, because agents saying the same things. Did the talent just develop late? Probably not. I think the financial precedents set last year are being built on, not edited due to the recession. Lots more coming on this topic today and in the coming weeks. Also, if you’d like to see breaking news seconds before I post it here, follow me on Twitter.
12:05 PM: A few teams have checked in with me to say that they won’t confirm signings until physical are passed, contracts approved by MLB, any pending investigations are completed, etc. Some of these clubs have recently signed guys with falsified ages (lots of teams have), so they just don’t want it out there until they’re as certain as they can be that all their ducks are in a row, which is completely understandable. That combined with a number of guys not signing on July 2nd for other reasons (covered in today’s article) will make the release of confirmed signings and bonus amounts a slow trickle. Maybe I should start eating and sleeping again.
12:08 PM: Reports are that the Cardinals’ 10:30 Dominican press conference announced the signing of Dominican OF Wagner Mateo. Derrick Goold has some details. I wasn’t there, but am told the official press release should be up soon. The bonus was confirmed to me by multiple sources before July 2nd to be $3.1 million.
12:19 PM: ESPN’s Jorge Arangure goes into much more detail about what I reported a little over an hour ago on this here blog entry: the Aroldis Chapman defection is confirmed. I didn’t want to toss out a possible bonus guess because I knew it would be huge. Arangure tosses out $30-60 million. Sounds about right, as part of a big league deal, most likely. My upcoming Latin economic breakdown series just got more interesting. So, once Strasburg signs, prepare for ridiculous Chapman hype. Wait, is that going to be before, after or during Bryce Harper hype? I need to check my “next big thing hype” talking points. Be right back.
12:29 PM: For those of you wanting some objective information about Aroldis Chapman’s talent, here’s R.J. Anderson’s piece with a breakdown of Chapman’s Pitch f/x data from a start in the World Baseball Classic.
12:58 PM: Got some clarification on Gary Sanchez’s contract. I had been told $2.8-3.0 million last week, others reported $2.5 million, some said just $3.0 million, then was told today “basically” $3.0 million. So what’s the deal? It is $3 million, but split into payments that change the present value, hence the $2.8 million low-end of the range I was told last week. I guess that bonus range is technically the most correct answer. There’s a $1.8 million payment after 45 days, then two $600,000 payments within the next 12 months. Seems the Yankees just got creative here to save a few bucks. Those are words I never thought I’d type.
1:08 PM: Some news on two Dominican prospects that are currently unsigned, but not for long: SS Juan Castillo and RHP GianCarlos Santana. Castillo is negotiating with three teams, the Astros, Twins, and Rays, and the Astros appear to be the leader. Castillo is a offensive-oriented shortstop that will likely move to third base or second base professionally. He should sign by Sunday, if not earlier, for a bonus in the low-six figures. Santana is the brother of Angels’ hurler Ervin Santana and is in talks with the Royals and Pirates, with the Royals being the likely landing spot. Santana was rumored to be headed to the Angels as a legacy signing until their scouting director was fired a few weeks ago. Santana had been sitting at 85-88 mph over the past few outings but had a recent velocity spike, sitting around 90 mph and hitting 91 mph recently. He figured to sign for about $75,000 in the next few days, but may opt to wait a few days and workout for other teams with his new-found velocity for a potential six-figure pay day.
1:15 PM: Another press release rolls in announcing three Venezuelan signings by the A’s. Shortstop Wilfredo Solano, outfielder Alfredo Sosa and third baseman Junior Martinez have been inked by the club, and bonuses are unknown. Solano is the best prospect of the group. I speculated in today’s article that the A’s were one of the teams on his trail and he should command a bonus in the mid-six figures, with some talk it could be as much as $750,000. Solano is a offensive-minded shortstop that will likely have to move to third base professionally.
1:31 PM: A couple clubs, including one team that I was told was done for the day, said they are in negotiations and hope to announce signings later, so stay tuned. It’s time for lunch and an interview. Still haven’t been able to squeeze sleep in the schedule. Sigh.
3:28 PM: This might be the last update of the day. Talked to some agents and clubs and it seems like all of this morning’s news was stuff that was done days or weeks ago and we’re now into a secondary market of sorts. Negotiations are just now heating up with this next group of players, but not much movement is expected today. The second and third tier players are now fielding offers from teams that are formulating their final answers after watching the elite guys line up and set the market. It’s a similar to how lots of draft picks in sports like football or basketball won’t sign until the guy ahead of them sets a ceiling they can negotiate under. It’s almost like there’s a second signing period that will open up in a day or two with teams currently getting their boards finalized and sending out offers while agents search for the best deal. Of course now that I’ve said that I’m sure 30 deals will get done in the next 5 minutes.
6:23 PM: Another release, this time from the Jays, announcing the signing of Venezuelan catcher Santiago Nessy, the bonus is unclear but is expected to be in the same range as Wilfredo Solano’s: mid-six figures with a shot for up to $750,000. Nessy is big-bodied, offensive-oriented catcher that may move to first, but has a chance to stick behind the plate and swings a mean stick.
6:48 PM: A couple teams have confirmed signings and some even confirmed how many signings they’ve made, but are withholding names until investigations and physicals are cleared. I could speculate, particularly with teams that have multiple guys that were rumored to be done, playing deductive reasoning, but that’s not really adding anything to the discussion. I don’t expect any more names/bonuses until tomorrow morning, but the floodgates should open at some point when clubs/agents start making moves and physicals/investigations wrap up.