There’s a big day coming this week, with the open of the new International Free Agent market on Thursday, July 2. Rumor has it that the Cubs will be spending plenty (and a great deal of it happens on that first day), so here is some of the latest to get you ready …
- Although the Cubs are tied to as many as six of the top 30 IFA prospects in this year’s class according to MLB.com, they are linked to just four of the top 30 at Baseball America, only one of them in the top 19, and only three of them sounding somewhat certain. FanGraphs has the Cubs tied to just three of the top 30 (seven of the top 41).
- What do we make of that? If the Cubs are going to accept two years of penalties (cannot sign an IFA for more than $300,000) to blow out their IFA budget this year), shouldn’t they be getting more top prospects? There are at least four possible explanations: (1) Rankings by third party services of IFA prospects are fairly scattered, as the players are younger, more raw, more varied, and less observed than in the draft; (2) maybe the Cubs are, in reality, connected to more prospects than believed (including some Cubans who haven’t yet clearly decided on a team); (3) maybe the Cubs are far more fond of the players they’re getting than the outside observers; and (4) maybe the Cubs’ front office is anticipating that the next CBA (post-2016) is going to change things in such a way that they’re best off doing whatever they can to get talent now, as this might be a last crack (or maybe the penalties won’t stand). If nothing else, this front office has earned our trust in matters of amateur talent acquisition. I have a hard time believing they’ll blow things out and not maximize the value to the best of their ability.
- You can read that BA piece, by the way, for scouting reports on the top 30 in this year’s class.
- Kiley McDaniel and Ben Badler both seem to believe that all top Cuban players will be going to the Dodgers this year, until they see otherwise. I can’t begrudge the Dodgers doing what I’d hope the Cubs would do if they had infinite resources, but there’s something that still would stink for the game if no other teams could realistically get the top young Cuban talent. McDaniel leaves open the possibility that the Cubs might get one of the top Cubans, but only if the Dodgers decide not to go over the top.
- The Dodgers are the favorites for shortstop prospect Lucius Fox now, too, by the way.
- More from Badler and McDaniel on just how messed up things have become in the IFA market. Change is coming one way or another. And more from Badler here on that point.
- BA has a great read on the top tools in this year’s class, which includes, among other things, a note that the Cubs will be getting the best defensive catcher in the crop.
- Not sure of how this young man is regarded, but here’s another name for the class:
Cuban OF Yusnier Diaz,18, registered with MLB & will be eligible to sign during next int'l period that starts July 2 when he's declared a FA
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) June 22, 2015
- Lastly, don’t forget the (speculated-by-me) relationship between the Cubs’ IFA spending this year and their ability to take on salary in July via trade. Something to keep at the back of your mind as the period opens up on Thursday.