In recent years, the Yankees have made some strides in the international market, acquiring largely raw players who have had varying result for the Yankees' Dominican League teams. A couple of those guys have even climbed the ladder to the point that they have become recognized prospects (e.g., De Paula.) However, the Yankees have not made a move for a highly touted international player in a long time. Guys like Darvish, Puig, Soler, Cespedes, Aoki, etc., have been up for grabs and the Yankees never made a sound. That has to change.
I do not blame the Yankees hesitancy to enter the bidding on the bigger international catches. The Irabus and Igawas were expected to be something and turned out to be wasted money by the Yankees. However, the Yankees also landed some other reputable international players like Matsui and El Duque, who were very important to the success of the team. Right now, the Yankees farm system is very difficult to rate because the seemingly best prospects are largely too raw and untested to rank. For that same reason, the Yankees have a dilemma because the need for MLB ready players is vast and becoming immediate. One of those needs is shortstop. In that regard, the top ranked international prospect is Alexander Guerrero. He is a 26 year old player with a strong bat who plays decent defense. Yet, the Yankees have not been affiliated with this prospect despite Jeter's tenure nearing the end and the Yankees being without a legitimate shortstop prospect right now. Purportedly, he can be had for about $4.5 m a year. So what is the hold up?
I digress. I understand that Guerrero is a risk. He may turn out to be a bust. But then again, is $4.5 m a year that big a risk for such a big need? If the Yankees had Puig and Darvish on this team, their present and future would look so much brighter right now. Notably, both were prominent international prospects but with the inherent question marks that come with coming from foreign leagues. The Yankees do not need Guerrero to be Puig for the deal to be a success, they just need for him to be a solid starting shortstop.
I do not know if Guerrero is the answer but it would seem that this type of move makes a lot more sense than other options the Yankees have attempted in the past to fill needs. Ichiro is getting paid $6.5m a year and we all knew he was near the end of his career before that contract. While the contract is not that long, it still affects year 2014 and unlike the signing of a 26 year old, does nothing for the future. Guys like Guerrero, Jose Abreu, Tanaka, etc., all need to be looked at seriously. The odds are that not all Yankee top prospects will be special. These type of acquisitions help hedge against that and the fact that the Yankees need MLB ready players now.