This morning, news came out that the Diamondbacks had signed Cuban pitcher Yoan Lopez, a player the Dodgers reportedly had interest in, for a bonus of $8.25 million. Good for them — Lopez is 21 and is viewed as a talented young prospect, the kind of player every team should want.
Of course, it’s not that simple: As Dave Cameron wrote, the cost is actually a lot more than that:
But don’t let the $8.25 million figure fool you; the Diamondbacks are paying far more than that to sign this kid. They had already previously announced five international free agent signings this period, with Badler reporting that two of the signings received $350,000 apiece, so they had already spent close to $1 million of their $2.3 million in allocated funds. By adding Lopez’s $8.25 million to the total, they’re looking at an overage tax of roughly $7 million, so the pure financial cost of signing him is really more like $15 million. And that’s without factoring in the opportunity cost of surrendering the largest pool allocation in next year’s international signing period, and potentially one of the largest bonus pools in the signing period after that as well.
How is this relevant to the Dodgers? Well, the real prize is a different Yoan, infielder Moncada, written up by Dustin here in December as someone you actively want. According to one report, they’re very much in the mix:
Source: #Dodgers aggressively pursued Yoan Lopez but came up short. Will now shift attention to OF Yoan Moncada. Expect a private workout.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 13, 2015
So while it’s good for Arizona to add talent to the system, it comes at the price of adding further talent over the next few years. And while there’s a case to be made that they just plan to say “what the hell, we’re already over our limit, might as well go all-in and get Moncada too now,” that only applies if Moncada signs by July 2. (I’m not going to go into the complicated rules of the international signing periods now, but if Moncada isn’t cleared by July 2 — and there’s no solid date for when the American government will clear him — Arizona is out, meaning they couldn’t have settled on a “let’s get ’em all” strategy as a certainty.)
Of course, even with Lopez’ addition, it hasn’t been a great deal to be an Arizona fan, at least if you’ve been paying attention to certain quotes.
Arizona GM Dave Stewart (emphasis mine):
Stewart said the signing puts the Diamondbacks’ payroll around $106 million, adding that the club “may have to” make additional moves to shed money.
“The truth is, I haven’t even thought about how,” Stewart said. “We’ll look at the numbers and look at who we’ll have to possibly subtract, if that’s what we have to do.
“I think James (Shields) is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches,” Stewart said. “I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people – he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.
The “true baseball team” won 64 games last year, 30 fewer than the Dodgers, and often seemed more interested in settling scores for perceived injustices than winning baseball games. They’re currently projected to be an 88-loss team in 2015. Good luck with that. I’m happy with the nerds, thanks.