Kiley McDaniel from FanGraphs recently went to the Dominican Republic to scout some of the upcoming international prospects who will be available on July 2nd, and he was also able to see several Cuban prospects, including one the Giants still have a chance with (Hector Olivera) and one they likely don't (Yoan Moncada). The Giants are obviously interested in Olivera, according to McDaniel:
The five teams I’m told are most interested in Olivera are the Dodgers, Padres, Braves, Giants and Marlins. All had at least one high level scout at the workout I attended
The article also details the explicit concerns about Olivera's health -- kind of a big deal, considering his new team probably is going to have to pay for some years when he's in decline. There's also a hint at what the 2B/3B might cost:
My prediction is a 3-year deal with an option for a $25-30 million guarantee, with the above mentioned caveats of incentives and a potentially adjusted post-physical deal.
Finally, there's a new video!
Looks like his back-load is hampered by the counterweight efficiency that you see from a lot of Cuban hitters, but his forethrough is ... alright, I'm making this up. But it's nice to see more than a grainy video from the WBC.
There is bad news, though. Yet again, we have someone who is fully convinced that Moncada is going to the Dodgers. If that's the case, they'll blow past their bonus allotment and be taken out of next year's international market. If that happens, then they start spending like a old, rich man who hates his kids. They'll get the new flavor of the week, Yadier Alvarez, and then they'll get that guy and that guy and that guy and that guy.
It seems like the smart, rich teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, and especially the Yankees have a strategy going in the international market, in which they blow past the spending cap to get all of the players they want, and don't worry about the year they have to sit out. As in, they'll sign eight or nine guys in a year, skip the next year, and repeat the process, rather than sign three players every year and stay under the cap. The latter strategy saves money; the former strategy nets extra prospects.
Will the Giants ever follow suit? I can't see anything in their history that suggests it. They've been burned on their highest-profile signings, like Angel Villalona and Rafael Rodriguez, and they seem content to apply the Vladimir Guerrero Theorem to international prospects, too. Hey, it's worked so far. To a point. But we'll probably just have to sit and take it when the Dodgers get all spendy and obnoxious.
Still, the bonus stuff doesn't matter with Olivera because he's an older player, and the Giants might pick him up to hedge their bets for this year and have a built-in replacement for Casey McGehee next year. It would be fantastic for the Giants to pick up a competent Pablo Sandoval replacement at a third of the price. Let's all think about how nice it would be before the news comes in that they finished in second place.