Via Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Yankees have signed center fielder Leonardo Molina for $1.4 million. The 16 year old was ranked number 5 on Baseball America’s international prospect board, and only became available to sign today.
Baseball America called him the best athlete of their year’s international class. Although he’s very toolsy, scouts have liked his bat as well, though it needs to be refined.
The Yankees only had $1.8779 million to spend this season, so the $1.4 million signing leaves them with less than $500 thousand to work with for the rest of the class, unless they want to start breaking the rules.
Yankees' acquisition of Leonardo Molina gives them a player some teams preferred to Eloy Jimenez. Premium position, arguably better tools.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) August 1, 2013
Update: (11:38 AM) As reader Bill points out, the Yankees spent $550,000 in acquiring Dominican shortstop Yonauris Rodriguez. This put the Yankees at a 5% overage on their international slot bonuses. They’ll have to pay a 75% tax on this overage, and if they want to sign anyone else significant, they’ll have to trade for a slot. Of course, if they love this international class, they could just go ahead and sign everyone, pay a 100% tax, and be severely constricted by a $250,000 maximum bonus next season. By nailing the 5% overage, it seems that the Yankees are probably done spending.