Wednesday, November 25, 2009

International Roundup

Various reports: Formerly suspended 17yo turned reinstated 20yo CF Eladio Moronto signs an inflated deal with NYY at 570K. Best tool: plus plus speed. Downside: can't play baseball. He'll be 21yo next season during his debut so don't look for big things from him. The message here: 570k is wishing well coinage for a big market team.


Arguelles has most recently been tied to the Rays, Seattle the NYY and Oakland. Its a bit of an off-season fluff piece really but the most important observation: no mention of TX. For that matter, I've heard nary a word of any interest from TX in chapman in the sports tabloids. Hopefully the NYY spend all of their money on Chapman and leave us Arguelles. If small market Oakland steals him away from under us on the heels of the Ynoa deal, Hicks should finally be put out to pasture.


Texas might be interested in 35yo RHP Hinsanori Takahashi, though he strikes me as the next Fukimori. Best 2 pitches are 2-seam (85-89.5, sitting 87) and screwball (75-82.5, sitting ~78.5). He rarely touches 90 with his 2-s sitting about 87 it seems.


Some good stuff from La Esquina (sub):

• Cuban first baseman free agent Jose Julio Ruiz worked out for the Oakland A's, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners last week. While Ruiz is a free agent, he has yet to be unblocked by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), so he is not yet eligible to sign with a team.

• Cuban pitcher Israel Soto, 22, worked out for the Boston Red Sox this week. According to agent Joel Bello, Soto threw 30 pitches and hit 97-99 mph on the radar gun. He is scheduled to throw for several teams on Saturday.

• The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Santo Aybar, confirmed Brewers international scouting director Fernando Arango. Aybar was ranked the 18th best July 2 prospect by Baseball America. Aybar's deal with the Brewers is contingent on him passing an age investigation.

On Friday, heralded Oakland A's prospect Michael Ynoa, who was signed last year to a record $4.25 million bonus, will pitch in a game for the first time in almost seven months when he makes his debut for Oakland's instructional league team in the Dominican Republic. Ynoa, 17, who missed the entire 2009 season with elbow problems, threw a pain free, eight-batter, 25-pitch simulated batting practice session last week in front of A's general manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst in the Dominican.
"He looked great and pitched free and easy and pain-free," Forst said. "It's an excellent first step for him."

During that session, Ynoa was throwing in the 90-91 mph range, which may raise some concerns considering that Ynoa's ability to throw in the mid-90s was what got him the record bonus as a 16-year-old signed out of the Dominican. But Forst said that Ynoa was only throwing at 80-85 percent effort.

"I don't think anyone has any concerns that he'll get back to that," Forst said. "I don't think anyone is concerned about his velocity."

Ynoa will throw one inning -- or a maximum of 25 pitches -- on Friday, and will throw a total of 10 innings in the instructional league. After Friday, Forst said, Ynoa will throw a pair of two-inning outings and one three-inning outing.

Mateo to see eye specialist

Amateur Dominican outfield prospect Wagner Mateo will visit an eye specialist next week in Florida with hopes that a new diagnosis will help speed up negotiations for a new contract. Mateo, 16, had signed a team-record $3.1 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 2 that was voided because the team had concerns about what they determined was Mateo's deteriorating eye condition.

"We don't think it's a more serious problem than we originally thought," Mateo's trainer Edgar Mercedes said, "but we are looking for a more accurate diagnosis from a respected specialist in the U.S. that can help reassure teams."

Mercedes said about 15 teams are still interested in Mateo but that all of them are looking for answers in regards to his vision problems.

To help with negotiations, Mercedes has enlisted the help of noted agent Adam Katz, whose company represents such stars as Sammy Sosa and Hanley Ramirez, and who helped Mercedes negotiate a record $4.25 million bonus for Michael Ynoa last year. "We think that Mateo's contract will likely have specific clauses [related to his vision], so I hired Adam Katz to help me with the details," Mercedes said.

At this point it seems unlikely that Mateo will sign before the end of the year. More realistically, he will sign sometime in January. Mercedes said Mateo is set to participate in a Perfect Games tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla., on Jan. 8-10.

Payano may sign soon

Mercedes also said that 16-year-old left-handed pitcher Victor Payano, whose $900,000 contract was voided by the Boston Red Sox because of shoulder issues, may soon sign for a similar amount with another team.

Payano is scheduled to throw for the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"He's going to sign this month, I think," Mercedes said.



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