On July 2 the new international signing period began and teams have already started scooping up the top talent on the market. The Yankees dominated the headlines last year as they spent around $17 million and signed one-third of the top 30 prospects on the market. So far they have been quiet this year, unable to sign any players to a bonus of more than $300,000 because of spending penalties they will be subject to over the next two signing periods. Despite not having the resources to make another big splash, the Yankees can still find top talent on the market without having to spend a lot.
As most baseball fans (should) know by now, more money isn't always indicative of more talent and more bonus money isn't either. More money will certainly get you a greater field of talent, as the Yankees showed off last year when they signed Dermis Garcia, Nelson Gomez, Juan DeLeon, Jonathan Amundaray, Antonio Arias, Hoy Jun Park, Wilkerman Garcia, Diego Castillo, Miguel Flames, and Bryan Emery, but just like with the MLB Draft, true talent can turn up anywhere.
The Yankees have already seen their fair share of cheap talent turn into valuable pieces and potential stars. Current top prospects Luis Severino and Jorge Mateo were both international signings out of the Dominican Republic and both were signed to bonuses below the $300,000 mark during the 2012 international spending period. Despite not being heralded as top talent right out of the gate, they have been crucial to the revitalization of the Yankees farm system. Severino is currently in Triple-A, is the team's top pitching prospect, and could possibly reach the majors this year. Mateo, meanwhile, has some more time to go, but he currently projects as their top shortstop prospect and has already surpassed 50 stolen bases on the year. Some say he could be the organization's true shortstop of the future, but only time will tell.
The organization has only signed one player so far, but that doesn't mean they haven't been active. Baseball America recently reported that they are the favorites to sign right-hander Maximo Castillo and have been linked to infielder Oswaldo Cabrera and catcher Andrew Chaparro. The Venezuelan pitcher was once believed to be a high-profile prospect, but his stock has fallen enough to put him into the Yankees' price range. If they can snag near-top talent like that and he regains his value after signing, the spending spree they went on in 2014 would be extra worth it.
The Yankees got 10 of the best players on the international market last year and for all we know, they could come away with a few more sleeper picks this year, like they did with Severino and Mateo. It might not be exciting right now, but for all we know, the next Yankee great is currently working out for the team somewhere in the world and is getting ready to sign a contract for the most money they have ever seen, even if it's "only" $300,000.