Dec 12, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Texas Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller talks during the Rule 5 Draft during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The Texas Rangers chose Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks in the draft. Mandatory Credit:David Manning
-USA TODAY Sports
Yasmany Tomas is currently in the Dominican Republic, waiting for Major League Baseball to officially declare him a free agent and unofficially declare the start of what could be the largest bidding wars for an amateur player to date. That announcement could take time, but teams aren’t just waiting around, and neither is Tomas. Here’s a run down of the latest news surrounding the Cuban slugger.
Newly appointed Padres GM A.J. Preller personally attended Tomas’s first open showcase on Sunday, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports. Before joining San Diego, Preller headed the Rangers’ much heralded scouting department, during which time they inked such notables as Elvis Andrus, Yu Darvish, Neftali Feliz, Martin Perez, Leonys Martin and Rougned Odor, and were continually ranked by BA as one of the top farm systems in baseball.
Many teams attended the showcase, but along with the Padres, the Mets, Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Giants displayed the strongest interest. And at least the Rangers and Phillies were impressed enough to schedule private sessions with Tomas. Philadelphia’s took place Tuesday, and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was in attendance. The Phillies have shown a predilection for Cuban free agents, signing right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in the offseason and reportedly bidding on center-fielder Rusney Castillo, who recently signed with the Red Sox. They came up well short of the matching the Sox offer for Castillo, but sources told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that Amaro and his scouts have always had a higher appraisal of Tomas than Castillo.
If the Phillies hope to sign Tomas, they will have to be the highest bidder. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez told Robert Brender of SNY.tv that Tomas will sign will not take a discount to sign anywhere.
That could have particular importance for the Marlins, who would be unable to capitalize on the Cuban population and culture of Miami. Two high-ranking Marlins executives, director of international operations Albert Gonzalez and vice president of player personnel Craig Weissmann, scouted Tomas on Sunday.
Rumors are swirling that the 23 year old could earn a contract worth as much as a 100 million dollars. That would break the record 77.5 million Castillo received, as the success of recent Cubans Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jose Abreu have given teams greater confidence in ballplayers from the isle.
Tomas could be the best one yet. 6’4 and 240 pounds, he rivals Abreu in size and raw power, only Tomas also runs a 6.65 60 yard dash and flashes a solid glove in the outfield, bringing dimension to his game the White Sox slugger lacks. “A monster,” scouts called him in conversations with MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.