The 2022 international free agent signing period began today, and as expected, the Yankees have made a big addition. At this time last year, they were signing Dominican shortstop Hans Montero to a $1.7 million deal. What do the Bombers have in store for us this time? Quite a splash, actually, and it involves arguably an even more talented Dominican shortstop.
The Yankees used over half of their allotted $5,179,700 bonus pool money to bring in the top player available of the window: Roderick Arias. The shortstop put pen to paper on a deal with a $4 million signing bonus ready for him.
The signing window, which used to be on July 2nd but was moved to January last go-around mainly because of the pandemic, will be open until December. The Yankees will scan the rest of the market and the available players, but they aren’t expected to have any additional deals in place with any of the top 50 prospects besides Arias.
Arias will easily slot inside the top 10 of the Yankees’ prospects. For reference, here are the top 38 prospects for 2022 according to FanGraphs evaluator Eric Longenhagen.
Today is a good day to frequently refresh MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez’s timeline, as well as the always reliable folks at Baseball America, as they will be announcing the deals as they occur during the weekend.
Here at Pinstripe Alley, we will have analysis of the Yankees’ new signees, providing more details of each transaction as it happens. Let the signings begin!
- As previously noted, Roderick Arias is signing with the Yankees for $4 million, per Sanchez (who originally reported $3.5 million, though $4 million is what BA always expected). He is a 17-year old shortstop with an excellent all-around game. There aren’t really any noticeable flaws from a prospect evaluation standpoint. Sure enough, MLB Pipeline has him as a 60-bat, 55-power, 55-run, 55-arm, and 55-field player; good for a 55 overall value.
Arias is — acknowledging some differing opinions — the number one prospect of the class. At the plate, he knows the strike zone well, which means he doesn’t expand it very much. His great contact skills give him a nice floor, and while he doesn’t have game-changing power, he does very well in that area, especially from the right side. MLB deems his potential as a hitter as “plus-plus”.
Top international prospect Roderick Arias is expected to sign with the New York Yankees on January 15, 2022. The 17 year old switch hitting shortstop has some serious pop.— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) December 4, 2021
: Roderick Arias pic.twitter.com/8ushiPBXSW
With the glove, Arias has above-average range, great hands, and solid footwork. His arm is a positive attribute, too: strong and accurate. Overall, he is a comfortably above-average fielder at the game’s hardest position and could improve with professional coaching.
Arias is not a burner, per se, but is a very good runner. He has been timed at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash, a solid time. MLB also details that he can score from first and second base with relative ease, and has “anticipation and awareness.”
In terms of expectations and comparisons with recent Yankees international signings, Arias is not quite on the same level of hype as Jasson Dominguez, for example, but is an exciting prospect in his own right. He is coming to an organization with a bevy of middle infield talents, but he should be at least four or five years away from big league consideration, so that’s a problem for another day. He is absolutely a nice addition for the Bombers’ farm system.
#BéisbolListín | El dominicano Roderick Arias firma con los Yankees de Nueva York por US$4.00 millones.— LISTINDIARIO (@ListinDiario) January 15, 2022
Ejecutivos le colocan la camiseta del equipo. Arias es el dominicano de mejor bono. #OrgulloDominicano #DeporteLD #RoderickArias #Yankees #ListínDiario pic.twitter.com/MSzc3kTjIQ
- Baseball America’s signing tracker has noted six more IFA signings: shortstop Luis Suarez and catchers Diomedes Hernandez & Ricardo Rodriguez (all out of Venezuela), catcher Enyer Ureña and right-handed pitcher Xabier Marte (both out of the Dominican Republic), and Panamanian right-handed pitcher Omar Gonzalez.
Not much is known about them at the moment — and goodness knows that research will confuse Suarez with a certain internationally known soccer player — but we’ll keep you posted with anything we see.
Here’s a triple by Luis Suarez, a Venezuelan SS who the Yankees have reportedly agreed to terms with. Video via his IG. pic.twitter.com/CkZ7dF0CK3— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) January 15, 2022