New York Yankees: 5 International Players the Yankees Should Consider
There are many big time international players on the market this winter. Many people know players like Yu Darvish and Yoennis Cespedes, but there are some less well-known players out there.
Following are five picks for Cashman to focus on signing.
2011 Stats: 232.0 IP, 18-6, 1.44 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 276 K, 35 BB
Yu Darvish will command the most money of any player on this list.
Yu Darvish is a 25-year-old Japanese pitching phenom. Most people try to compare Darvish to other Japanese pitchers, such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa, but these comparisons just are not fair because he is a better and more complete pitcher than both of them.
Average of last five seasons in Japan:
Darvish: 205 IP, 17-5, 1.71 ERA, 219 Ks
Matsuzaka: 163 IP, 13-7, 2.62 ERA, 169 Ks
Igawa: 200 IP, 15-9, 3.13 ERA, 190 Ks
Darvish pitched the most innings, had the best record, by far the best ERA and the most strikeouts even though he was the youngest of the three. Darvish also has at least seven pitches and tops out on the radar gun at 100 miles per hour.
One of the best reasons the Yankees should go after Darvish instead somebody like C.J. Wilson is that Darvish would not cost the Yankees a draft pick and his posting fee would not count against the luxury tax.
The Japanese baseball may be smaller, which allows for higher velocity, but it also has less prominent seams, which creates less movement on off-speed pitches. The switch to the majors way be a difficult one but I think Darvish has a chance to become the first very successful Japanese pitcher in the majors.
2011 Stats: .333/.424/.667, 1.091 OPS, 33 HRs, 99 RBI in 90 games
The 26-year-old—if you trust his birth certificate—Cuban defector is a sensational player who can make a big impact in the majors. He recently released an amazing 20-minute video showcasing his talents.
Cespedes is said to be a rare five-tool player, which is a player who excels at hitting for average, power, baserunning speed, throwing ability and fielding.
If the Yankees can sign Cespedes, and he pans out, he will be the steal of the offseason because he will cost only somewhere between $8 million and $10 million per year over five years.
The Yankees are reportedly scouting him in the Dominican Republic this week, which is a step in the right direction.
Many people may not know who Jorge Soler is but the 19-year-old Cuban defector has serious talent.
Jorge Soler may not be as well-rounded as Yoennis Cespedes but they are very similar. Both Soler and Cespedes play in the outfield and are legitimate five-tool players.
Soler will come much cheaper than Cespedes, but because of his age he has the potential to become a much better player in the long run.
2011 Stats: .358/.435/.509, .944 OPS, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 61 K, 63 BB, 19 SB
Norichika Aoki reminds me a lot of Ichiro Suzuki. Aoki is a prototypical contact hitter.
Not only has Aoki won three batting titles in Japan but he has also won three Gold Gloves.
Aoki has shown that he can compete against the best in the world by hitting .324 and seven RBIs in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
2011 Stats: 201.0 IP, 10-9, 2.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 153 K, 36 BB
Last season, the Oakland A's won Iwakuma's rights via the posting system but they were unable to work a deal out. Due to that, Iwakuma is a free agent and does not need to be posted.
Iwakuma won the 2009 Nippon League MVP Award and has shown that he is one of the best pitchers in Japan, but at 30 years old he would only be a short-term option for major league teams.
Iwakuma will be a much cheaper option than anybody else on this list, but at 30, he is also the oldest.