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Thread: HHP: The Cuban Defector Gambit
01-10-2012 12:13 PM #1
HHP: The Cuban Defector Gambit
We all know the Orioles have several gaping holes on the Major League roster, most notably pitching and corner infielders. Left field is of secondary concern since Reimold can be given a shot. Right field is suddenly a concern due to Markakis's injury but you have to pencil him in. 2B is a worry with Roberts injury but there is depth for the position, albeit Andino, Flaherty, Antonelli are pretty risky.
I don't see any ready made solutions to this problems. Fielder at 1B, sure, but that's a ton of cash to risk at this time, I'm going to assume he signs elsewhere in a preemptive attempt to squash this thread being derailed by Fielder chatter.
The idea here is to add talent (Cespedes, Soler) in order to free up talent to trade. In essence, create a surplus of talent in the outfield in order to trade from a position of strength to fill positions of weakness. Nobody needs to be traded immediately so the Orioles can wait for the appropriate deal to come along. This is a long term talent building plan.
Right now, there are two potential impact players available via FA both are Cuban defector's and both play the outfield.
Jorge Soler a 19 year old OF with big time power projections and athleticism. Callis compares Soler to Bubba Starling and claims he would have been drafted near Starling.
Yoenis Cespedes a 26 year old OF who has shown great power and talent in the Cuban league and in the WBC.
According to RotoWorld (quoting Boston Globe) Cespedes is looking to sign a $30+ million contract while Soler projects to cost $20 something million.
Caveat: There is no way to know if these players have any bias towards particular teams or situations so let just assume they are available and want money for purposes of debate.
So what about this (assuming the O's think Cespedes and Soler are what they seem to be):
Sign Cespedes for 4/$35 (maybe an option for some sort on year 4 and/or a 5th year). $8.75 million a year. Might cost more but this seems close enough to discussion.
Sign Soler for 6 years $25 million. Using pitcher Aroldis Chapman as as comp who signed as a 21 year old (22 in his first season) for 6 years $30 million. $4.16 million a year.
For the next 4 years this increases payroll by almost $13 million for a starting OF and a top notch OF prospect playing alongside Machado and Schoop. 3 top notch position players all projecting to break into the ML team at about the same time. Moreover, they are coming up behind actual talent at the ML level. Orioles have not had that since...well...the 70's?
The Orioles would be able, over the next year or two, to trade from a position of strength. Jones, Markakis, Hardy, and Reynolds could be traded due to an excess of talent as opposed to just monetary need. Or keep them and trade the younger player. Or keep them all due to injuries. The team needs talent, go get it!
01-10-2012 12:21 PM #2
I thought when I saw the title there was another defector, this one named Gambit, and he'd be our target because serious teams will pay market value for Cespedes and Soler and we won't.
But to your post, I'm all on board with this. I bet Cespedes gets a $45-$50 million contract though - say 5 years. I have a hunch the $60 million goal was an overestimate but these $35 million ones may be under. The Darvish talk before the posting period transitioned from record-breaking to more reasonable posts, but when the dust settled it was still a monster post fee.
When Cespedes can become a free agent, I'm guessing the contract offers will escalate past the most recent pulled back estimates.
01-10-2012 12:41 PM #3
Intriguing, though 6/$25m seems like a lot of cash for what probabilistically appears to be something like Wily Mo Pena (Soler) - i.e., huge power, great bat speed, possible contact issues, big frame that will outgrow up-the-middle projections.
01-10-2012 01:12 PM #4
The comp I linked suggested Soler would have been drafter right around Bubba Starling who got a $7.5 million signing bonus spread over 3 years $2.5 million a year.
The Starling comp has to be a absolute minimun since Soler's value isn't artificially suppressed by the draft rules. However, Soler would need to sign a 5 year deal minimum since he won't be under team control sue to service time for 6 years (like Starling is). Whatever Soler signs for is what he gets until the deal is over. I projected $4.16 million a year for 6 years. These seems reasonable given the available comps.
Is it worth it? If he really is Starling/Machado level talent, and it takes $5-$8 million bonus to sign those guys given given the inherent advantage to the drafting team, then it stands to reason it makes sense to spend market value for a guy like Soler.
How else can the Orioles add top tier prospects to the system? They only get 1 top round draft pick a year. If you blow it (Hobgood, Rowell) then they have to pay more to make up for it.
01-10-2012 01:37 PM #5
Are we going to pay him $4m a year to be an A, AA, and AAA player?
Last edited by Lucky Jim; 01-10-2012 at 01:42 PM.
01-10-2012 02:06 PM #6
What would Machado and Starling get if they were FA instead of draft picks? It's hard to say because not many players at that talent level are ever free agents.
What we do know:
1) The market value should be more then drafter players get.
2) The contract will come down a bidding war where money isn't they only consideration, ie. team/region bias or even contract perks.
Are we going to pay him $4m a year to be an A, AA, and AAA player?
01-10-2012 02:24 PM #7
So, basic questions:
1. How long do you think Soler stays in the minors?
2. What do you think his ceiling is?
3. What do you think his floor is?
4. What do you think his probability of reaching his ceiling is?
5. What do you consider his mid-point projection?
I think this is an interesting discussion, and it can help us separate gambits from mere gambling.
Realistically, a $25 million contract would be backloaded, include a signing bonus, and likely some sort of options at the end. So no, the Oriole's would not be paying $4 million in year 1-3.
Last edited by Lucky Jim; 01-10-2012 at 02:30 PM.
01-10-2012 02:29 PM #8
If you value Soler at $x (say, $15 million), would you pay $3-5 million more than that to sign him? Should the Orioles?
Should the O's be the team to overpay for these guys? I say yes, because overpaying for Soler is much cheaper than overpaying for many FAs.
01-10-2012 02:34 PM #9
01-10-2012 02:44 PM #10
I think BAL would be better off building a $10 MM dollar facility in the DR, a $3 MM facility in Brazil, a $3 MM dollar facility in Mexico, a $3 MM facility in Korea, a $3 MM facility in Italy and a $3 MM facility in Panama.
01-10-2012 02:47 PM #11
01-10-2012 03:28 PM #12
In the end, if our scouts look at Soler as a guy who will likely arrive with Machado and Schoop, with similar impact potential, I sure hope they're not just dismissing the idea out of hand.
01-10-2012 03:32 PM #13
I think you make my point for me, though, when you hope for similar impact to Schoop. What did he cost?*
*In truth, he'd be a better prospect than Schoop. But the question is, how much better and at what cost?
Last edited by Lucky Jim; 01-10-2012 at 03:37 PM.
01-10-2012 03:34 PM #14
01-10-2012 03:41 PM #15
Building out such an apparatus is desired, but since the are not currently in place, the only way to acquire international talent is signing guys like Soler, Schoop, etc.