Two Cubans The Yankees Might Be Interested In

When the new CBA was released last year, the Yankees lost a ton of leverage in the international free agent market. In the past, when the team was restricted by low amateur draft picks, the front office pumped loads of money into international scouting and signings. Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos, and Jesus Montero were all products of the international market. Now that the CBA has limited international spending to a $2.9 million cap, and the Yankees, in particular, can no longer flex their financial muscles.

There is one exception, 23 year old players who have three years or more of professional baseball experience. Unfortunately, at this point in their careers, it’s much harder to find talent in this group. The majority of the high upside international players been picked up before the age of 23. On top of that, you lose up to six years of team control and proper baseball training compared to the 16 year olds that you could sign a year ago.

Because of the CBA, we’re unlikely to see big name 23 year old players signing out of places like the Dominican Republic, however in restricted leagues like Japan and Cuba, circumstances disallow top level talent from becoming available to major league teams. There are burdens with Japan, a blind bidding system is hard to navigate, which makes Cuban players much more valuable. We’ve seen players like Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler, and Yasiel Puig receive much bigger contracts than usual. The Cuban defector market is becoming more expensive, but it’s the perfect place for teams like the Cubs, a team with money looking to rebuild their system.

There are two big names at the moment, and the Yankees might have interest in both.

Dariel Alvarez (OF)

2010 22 325 299 82 13 1 11 5 10 27 13 .274 .321 .435 .756 .961
2011 23 376 344 125 22 2 20 2 2 20 18 .363 .404 .613 1.017 .943
2012 24 319 283 77 10 0 8 2 2 18 26 .272 .343 .392 .735 .989
2012 24 192 183 58 18 0 3 19 5 .317 .335 .464 .799

At 6’2″ and 190 lbs, the 24 year old Alvarez is an above average outfielder with a plus arm. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions, but profiles best at right or left field. He’s had five seasons in the Serie Nacional de Béisball in Cuba, and one in La Liga Invernal Veracruz in Mexico. The right-handed hitter’s best year was 2011, where he broke out with an incredible 20 home runs and 125 hits (a team record) over just 376 plate appearances. Though his age 23 season was strong, he regressed in 2012, where he hit just 11 home runs across 511 plate appearances in Cuba and Mexico. Despite the dropoff in power, Alvarez has shown an increased willingness to walk, and if his offense in 2011 was not a fluke, he may have some major league talent.

Though the Yankees already have three top outfield prospects, I wouldn’t say that any of them will be ready for the majors in 2014. With Curtis Granderson coming off the books next season, Alvarez may be major league ready before any of Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, or Mason Williams. Depending on what scouts see in his offense, he could be an option for 2014, and one that would come relatively cheaply. Alvarez has his own YouTube feed where you can see his swing, and I do think his bat speed is impressive.

Aledmis Diaz (SS)

2010 20 294 262 74 8 2 3 2 5 28 20 .282 .348 .363 .711 .950
2011 21 358 282 83 16 1 7 1 2 23 58 .294 .437 .433 .870 .975
2012 22 313 270 85 10 2 12 11 2 25 36 .315 .404 .500 .904 .977

Diaz is supposed to be the better of the two Cubans. The 6’1″ 185 lb right-handed hitter just turned 23 years old on Tuesday, and scouts already think he’s more Major League ready than Alvarez. Diaz’s glove and arm at short stop are considered to be a plus. Though you’d expect a short stop to have some speed, Diaz makes a living with his bat. He projects to hit for contact and draws a ton of walks. He also has a bit of pop, which is still somewhat projectable for a 23 year old.

With Derek Jeter turning 39 next season, and a player option in 2014, it’s always possible that the Yankees will need a short stop. The organization has very little depth on the left side of the infield, and it’s grown exceptionally hard to find these players on the free agent market. Diaz has the right approach at the plate and the glove, and the scouting reports make it sound like he could be Major League ready by 2014. Of course, Yankee scouts will know best, but the team seems overdue for a major international free agent signing like this.

About Michael Eder

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

7 thoughts on “Two Cubans The Yankees Might Be Interested In

  1. What’s with not listing RBI? You against them?

    So you’d lock up Cano for 5 years at $20M a year, $100M total if he drove in 63 runs in 2013? Nerd LOL. Spare me “If he hit .337 yeah I would.” cuz he’s not gonna hit .337. He’d be lucky to hit .297 and luckier to hit .307.

    Triples, stolen bases, and caught stealings are not more important than RBI bro.

    • RBIs aren’t a player stat. They’re a team stat. If the guys in front of Canó get on base more often, even if he has the same year, he will drive in more RBIs. This is focused on player stats, not team stats.

  2. These are the “new Yankees,” run by accountants. The organization has stopped spending money. Signing either of these prospects is a pipe dream.

  3. The yankees need to trade granderson hughes and/or nova. They have so many one year deals that wont work unless they make trades

  4. If the money is reasonable I don’t see why they wouldn’t sign Diaz. Nunez is their only replacement at SS, after that its basically a waiting game for culver or Austin aune (if he even sticks). Heathcott,Austin, and Williams may not be ready yet but 2014 is still a possibility for 2 of these three. AA outfield will be loaded this year and I have to think one of these guys will get a mid season promotion and have a shot at LF.

  5. If the Yanks intend on being more frugal, they need to become something they have not been in a long time, a top scouting team of amateur talent. The one thing many people do not realize is that the Yankees have two going on three developmental Dominican league teams which is a nice move toward finding young talent. The Yankees will also have the benefit of 3 first round picks this year once Soriano signs so hopefully they will use those picks wisely. If they do so, the Yanks could have one of the top 5 farms in baseball and therefore, at some point, will not have to spend the way they used to.