The opening of the international signing period is a big deal now, what with the Internet being a hideous, pulsing organism that is never satisfied until it has more, more, more information to shove down its open gullet, which still isn't enough, so it screams for more, more, more. People like to talk about prospects. On Thursday, teams will spend money -- a lot, in some cases -- on prospects. It's only natural to get excited if you're a baseball nerd and dig your way to the bottom of the information hole.
The problem is that the Giants aren't likely to sign any of the biggest names. Here's a list of the top 30 international prospects. The Giants aren't a great bet to sign any of them. Part of that has to do with their bonus pool -- just over $2.1 million, in the bottom third -- and part of that has to do with the Giants' history. They were shut out last year, just as they were the year before that.
The last three times the Giants spent more than $1 million on individual international prospects was with Angel Villalona, Rafael Rodriguez, and Gustavo Cabrera. The last time any of them ranked in the Giants' top 10 was Villalona in 2009, and he seems somewhat unlikely to reach the majors, now. That isn't to say that the Giants are right to give up on international free agents because they're thrice burned, thrice shy. Just that if they're comfortable with a different approach, it's hard to blame them. The Giants have done well signing less-heralded, older prospects (Keury Mella, Adalberto Mejia). They'll probably keep the same quiet approach.
Baseball America thinks so:
Venezuelan catcher Ricardo Genoves, who used to be the catcher for Red Sox phenom Anderson Espinoza, looks like he could end up (the Giants') top signing, with word that his bonus could go a little north of $500,000.
While Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs suggest they're at least trying for some top players ...
SF is among teams trying hard to get Lucius Fox and are arguably on Eddy Martinez the most, but feeling is Dodgers are inevitable on both.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) June 26, 2015
... but likely falling short in a specifically annoying fashion. I'm not sure if I can get used to an EME without the E, so maybe it's for the best.
Should you be mad? Annoyed? The Giants literally drafted a middle infielder without a single college home run and turned him into the #3 hitter for a team that would make the postseason if the season ended today. They traded one of their international free agents for a desperately needed starting pitcher last year, and they've been excellent at exchanging their prospects for big-league help at the trading deadline.
Also, you know. Last year. The year before the year before last year. The year before the year before the year before last year. It's getting boring, assuming the organization knows what they're doing all the time.
But, no, you shouldn't be mad or annoyed. The Giants' organizational plan doesn't seem to involve large sums of money given to a handful of top international prospects. There's more than one way to massage a seal, though, and they've been doing well on other fronts. Expect a quiet day on Thursday.
One last note, it's worth noting that Cabrera still remains someone to watch. He was the last big ticket item for the Giants on the July 2 market, and the only reason we're not talking about him right now is because of a freak, career-threatening accident. I talked to someone in May about Cabrera, and the early word is that while the road to his recovery is still long and involved, that it's going just about as well as possibly hoped. He's had seven at-bats in the Arizona League, and he was recently assigned to Augusta. He might make that top-10 list soon enough.
I mean, I've been saving this article in an open tab for three months for a reason.
Byron Buxton and Gustavo Cabrera are not your typical teenagers.
They are not built like the kids next door, and the outfielders don't play ball like them. These young men are in a class all by themselves, and their talents are incomparable, except, perhaps to each other.
So I'm not saying the Giants shouldn't sign top international prospects. Because those dudes are really, really exciting, and Cabrera might be a hint that the investments are worth it over an extended period of time. I'm just saying the Giants aren't likely to sign one of the top guys, and it's not exactly a reason to gnash your teeth or rend your garments.
Gnashing your garments and rending your teeth? I'm open on that one. Knock yourself out. However you want to root for your baseball team, I guess.
Edit: lol i don't know