Yesterday, MASN’s Steve Melewski posted a two part interview with President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail on the Orioles International Operations.
You can find those interviews at:
Part 1- http://www.masnsports.com/steve_mele...l-efforts.html
Part 2- http://www.masnsports.com/steve_mele...l-efforts.html
For the record, I thought Melewski did a good job with the questions asked, and following-up.
That said, Orioles Hangout posters immediately responded with their criticisms of MacPhail’s comments. Below are some examples:
Quote from MacPhail: “Yeah and we are not excluding ourselves from it. We are excluding ourselves from a very small percentage of that 33 percent. I haven't done the study, but you ought to do the study of how many of those $4 or $5 million dollar players, how are they doing?”
Response from Poster ‘skanar’: “This quote annoys the heck out of me. This study isn't that hard. We're talking a three-week job for a statistics grad student once you've got the data. If they recognize that running the numbers is a good idea, why not DO IT?”
Quote from MacPhail: "It's me. I am just not big on throwing $4 or $5 million at a guy that has just been at tryout camps that you haven't had a chance to see in a competitive environment."
Response from Poster ‘Burg’: “But we'll give 15+ million to Vlad and D. Lee? That's not a risk? Also, how about actually trying to see them in a competitive environment?”
Response from Poster ‘Stotle’: “The second most expensive player the Rangers signed was actually in last year's Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley, playing against the top HS talent in last year's class (as a then 15 yr old). Stood out there for his projectability and raw power.”
Response from Poster ‘TGO’: “MacPhail's argument about not spending 4M is a straw man. No one is asking him to necessarily spend 4M on one player. But hello, the first time we ever spent six figures was last year, for a $300k bonus! That is our franchise record: $300,000. And we've only done it once. You don't want to spend $4M on one guy, fine. Sign 18 guys for $200k a piece this year and one for $400k and I won't have a negative thing to say.”
Response from Poster ‘Frobby’: “The top 30 signing bonuses in 2010 all were $475 k or more. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...1/2611344.html
In 2010, the Rays spent $1.73 mm internationally, the Sox spent $1.64 mm, the Orioles spent $1.18 mm. The Yankees ($5.27 mm) and Jays ($4.18 mm) were much higher. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...1/2611345.html The O’s spent more in the Rule 4 draft than the Rays (by $2 mm) and the Yankees (by $2.5 mm). http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/...tures-2008-10/
The Orioles have the lowest number of international prospects in their organizational top 30 of any team in the majors (3 of their top 30). http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/...system-health/ “
Response from Poster ‘allstar1579’: “My problem is it's a much better allocation of that money to take a gamble on signing 10-15 guys to 300-500k contracts than to pay an aging RP who isn't going to make us a contender, and will be lucky to help us win 2 more games than having say, Steve Johnson in the pen. Apparently it's better for the future of this team to sign an aging RP that would put up similar numbers to any one of a dozen players from AA/AAA we already have, to a $6m+ per year contract than it is to invest $6m each year in international signings. No one is saying to go spend $6m on one guy and call it a day. A lot of these prospects sign in the low 6 figures, and even more in the tens of thousands, but he would know that if it wasn't completely ignoring that avenue of talent acquisition. Even if you only hit on one per year, and got a top 100 prospect once per 15-20 kids you signed each year. That's another top 100 prospect some other team like TOR or the NYY are going to be using against us for at least 6 years.
It's just inexcusable to put your head in the sand and make excuses as to why you won't go near international signings when other teams in your division are developing these same players and using them to perform better than you are because you don't feel like it's worth the effort. He wants proof that he should be signing them?”
Quote from MacPhail: "Or player development guys. So if an infield rover, for example, goes over to the Dominican, we will make sure he sees some guys we are looking at that are middle infielders. If the pitching rover goes over, we will make sure he sees some arms. If (hitting instructor) Denny Walling goes over, we look at some bats.Where I am really headed with this is we just seem to be more American-centric with our cross-checking."
Response from Poster ‘BrunoCherrytown’: “A not-so blatant admission that he understocks the international department staff.”
Response from Poster ‘MrOrange82’: “While MacPhail is spending an average amount of money there (the DR), he's also saying that he's dedicating less in the way of scouting resources and "cross checking" to that part of the world, so whatever amount of money being spent stands a fair chance of being spent less intelligently than other teams that apply closer scrutiny to the players available and the players they're bringing in.”
Quote from MacPhail: “Yeah. What we did with Sano is we valued him where we thought he'd go in the draft and made an offer commensurate with that, and he did better. Not that we were lowballing him, but he signed for more than our final offer by a good margin. We had the advantage of having Sano in our camp playing games. So we went out and made a first-round type of offer, but where we would have thought he'd go in the first round. He said, 'I can do better,' and he did it."
Response from Poster ‘LookitsPuck’: “Sano signed for $3.15 million. I'd like to know what our offer was. The Twins got him. Clearly $3 million isn't $4 million or more. They've seen him in camp. They offered first-round type of offer..what does that mean? Clearly not high level first-round money. So what was it? Is this just posturing?”
Response from Poster ‘Flosman’: I think most on here are not characterizing what he said correctly. AM SAID HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN SANO 1ST ROUND MONEY!!!. That means he was offering seven figures but not Weiters or Manny money. That means the valued him highly and were in fact willing to pay. Being has though he is already playing part of his time at 3rd maybe MacPhail was right. As of last year there was one all star produced by the top 31 signings from this system and a couple of guys that might become regulars. But let's be honest there where more guys that became other older people than productive MLers in that group. MacPhail is making his bets down there and really we will not have any idea how he is doing for 2 or three more years at the earliest.”
Response from Poster: ‘jabba72’: “The Sano negotiations came off sounding bad back when he signed with Minnesota. Sano signed for about $3M. Andy said our offer wasn’t close to that, so in truth he might not be honest about offering Sano 1st rd money.”
Response from Poster ‘Can of Corn’: “There is a big difference however between slot for a top 5 or so pick, which is around where Baltimore picks every year, and the bottom of the round. I think the O's probably offered #30 pick slot money for Sano, which is going to be a lot lower then 3 million.”
Quote from MacPhail: “If you want to put $5 million down on batting practice, have at it. Now, in three years, if I'm wrong and I see that's where you should be, then we'll be there. But I am going to need to see proof that I am wrong, that's all."
Response from Poster ‘Stotle’: “God is this a bad argument. How many IFAs have received $5 million? Mr. MacPhail is using hyperbole to try and prove a point. He confesses to have not actually done or read any studies on seven figure investment in IFA. His entire interview was full of hyperbole and almost nothing of substance. You'd think the person in charge of making all of these investment decisions would need to resort to overstatement to try and prove a point. He should have some substance to back up his opinion, right? Especially considering it is flying in the face of what a bunch of other ML organizations are doing.
Carlos Martinez, STL, around $1.5 million
Miguel Sano, MIN, around $3 million
Ronald Guzman, TEX, around $3.5 million
Those 3 players have been my favorites going back to last July. If Guzman and Hernandez were given their "crazy" bonuses from Texas based on "batting practice" then why are there quotes from their scouts on each's ability to recognize pitches and differentiating between in-game power and BP power right now?
And I guess it must be true that it wasn't Guzman playing at the nationally televised Under Armour All-America Game and in the Dominican Prospect League -- some sort of body double maybe? -- since we know the guys getting multi-million dollar deals in Latin America only take batting practice and refuse to play in any organized games.
A two second search of the Baseball America prospect blog led me to full reports on all the top players:
‘Though he doesn't do it in batting practice, Hernandez has a tendency to leak open with his front knee and open up his hips too early in games.’
‘Unlike Elier Hernandez, Guzman is not a quick-twitch athlete. Scouts have questions about his bat speed, which is why he doesn't usually show pull power in games.’
‘His game speed is slower, though, with below-average times going from home to first. Scouts are mixed on Becerra's bat. He has good size and strength, and some scouts consider him one of the best righthanded hitters available with good plate coverage and projectable power. Others say he's better in tryouts than game situations, where his swing tends to get long with an uphill stroke where he gets around the ball.’
‘Lugo, a 16-year-old from Bani who trains with Victor Franco (known as Mula) and plays in the Dominican Prospect League, is one of the better hitters in Latin America.’
‘The question most scouts have is how much Ruiz will hit in games. He can get into a groove in BP, but in games his stroke can get long and he pulls off the ball.’
Those are statements on each of the top 5 position prospects, according to Baseball America, that either directly comments on game action, or states that the player participates in the Dominican Prospect League. $5 million for batting practice, huh?”
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