For those of you who can’t muster enthusiasm over the amateur drafts, the July 2nd international signing period is probably even worse. Scouting 16 year old kids is little better than throwing darts. The A’s have a track record of being active in international signings. Some successful (Tejada) and some disappointing (Ynoa, Prieto). But in recent years the A’s haven’t been big players. Last year the A’s were 28 of 30 in international spending. And the reports going into this year were more of the same. And then nearing the 2nd reporters started to surface that the A’s might not just be players, but even go over their international bonus pool.
And it’s happened. The A’s have already signed 5 players for $6.7 million.
Lazaro Armenteros, of, Cuba, for $3 million.
Marcos Brito, ss, Dominican Republic at $1.1 million.
Yerdel Vargas, ss, Dominican Republic, $1.5 million.
Kevin Richards, of, Dominican Republic, $600,000.
George Bell, ss, Dominican Republic, $500,000.
There are a few things about this that are interesting to me. While it seems crazy to spend that kind of money on teenagers, it’s probably smart. The draft and international signings are places where teams can acquire talent relatively cheaply. But the A’s spent enough this year that they won’t be allowed to spend more than $300,000 on any given player in the next two international periods. Which begs two questions, why haven’t the A’s been more active in recent years, and more important, why are they suddenly being so active this year?
As for the former question, I’m not sure, maybe it was as a result of getting burned on Ynoa, maybe it was based in a belief that international players have been overpriced, maybe it’s been a choice between payroll and bonuses. I’m not really sure.
As for the A’s decision to break the mold and splurge this year, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the A’s think that the a new CBA, coming in 2017, will likely totally re-write the international signing process. It’s an interesting strategy on the A’s part. I like it.