Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas could wind up one of the most expensive pieces on the free agent market this offseason, and the vetting process is already in full force. Although the 23-year-old slugging corner outfielder is awaiting the official grant of free agency from MLB, he’s already showing off for its teams in the hopes of landing a record contract for Cuban defectors.
Yesterday, Tomas worked out for representatives from all 30 teams at the Giants’ facility in the Dominican Republic. Jesse Sanchez wrote a profile of Tomas in advance of the workout, and heard from scouts afterward that it went very well:
Scouts called him a monster. He has size & athleticism for a big man, @mr_sfgiants. Big power and quick hands. He can run. Legit showcase.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) September 22, 2014
Presently, the teams said to have the most interest in Tomas are the Giants, Phillies, Rangers, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Mets, Red Sox, Padres, and Tigers, all of which make a great deal of sense. The Marlins are reportedly also very interested, and, well, at this stage, you could probably say that about a number of teams. Heck, it might even be a majority of teams.
The separator, however, is going to be which teams are willing to pay the price of poker. With the contracts for Cuban defectors escalating rapidly, the market is clearly en route to catching up to value. In these situations, the scales tend to tip – at some point – a bit in the wrong direction before course correcting. We won’t know when that point has been reached, however, for several years, which makes the process fraught with risk, and loaded with potential. That’s something of a unique rub for Cuban players, who play in a league with a mix of elite talent and very, very weak players, and for whom the scouting looks can be limited.
That’s why, as we saw with Rusney Castillo, who ultimately got (essentially) six years and $72 million from the Red Sox, the private workouts can be fairly important.
… and sure enough, those workouts are coming. Ben Badler reports that the Phillies will work Tomas out at their facility in the DR today, and the Rangers will work Tomas out on Wednesday. Each team, Badler says, was well-represented as Tomas’s workout yesterday.
We’ll see if the Cubs wind up working out Tomas, and whether we hear about it before he signs (as happened with Castillo). With a theoretical surplus of young positional talent, it’s debatable whether Tomas marks the best use of the Cubs’ resources. On the other hand, I could argue that adding a big bat is among the Cubs’ most significant needs, and the opportunity to get 23-year-old studs with upside for nothing more than money doesn’t come up too often.
On the balance, I’d be surprised to learn that the Cubs aren’t interested (presuming they haven’t dinged Tomas completely for some scouting-related reason), but I’d also be surprised to learn that they’re about to go all out on him. If Tomas is the stud that many think he is, it seems like there will be other teams that are bereft of young big-league-ready positional talent that will want to be more aggressive.