17 March 2011

Orioles have the fewest IFAs in the AL East

As shown before, there is also a wide disparity in the amount organizations spend on these players.  The following graph was taken from the six part series highlighting international free agents (IFA) signed by MLB clubs over the past year.  It should be noted that Cuban players have not been included as I am using a list provided over at Baseball America.  If they were, the Orioles would not increase their number, but the other teams in the AL East would.  Also, keep in mind that money spent on big ticket items does not mean that money is well spent.  It often seems that the presence and ability to reel in players under the 100k mark are often the hallmark of successful organizations.  The Texas Rangers and the Colorado Rockies are examples of organizations who have a strong presence in international markets and their presence has created a lot of trust.  Money is king, but with these lower end no-cost-high-upside talents it is good to have the players' trust and the trainers' trust.  I think that is the hallmark of a successful international effort.

Be sure to click on the above image to see a larger version.  As you can see, the Orioles are once again one of the least active teams in baseball as well as being the least active one in the AL East.  For a team with a better market than at least the Tampa Rays, it is somewhat disconcerting to see them bringing in more talent not only with their obscene number of high round draft picks, but even with IFAs.

More after the jump.

None of this is surprising as we have time and time again noted that Andy MacPhail certainly pays some attention to the international scene, but that attention pales in comparison to almost every other organization.  When you look at the teams that fall beneath the O's you have three teams in economic disarray at the moment in the Dodgers, White Sox, and Marlins.  You also have a team who had to completely gut its scouting base due to widespread fraud with the Nationals.

Tied with the Orioles at two prospects are a few teams that might be misleading to be placed where they are.  The Reds went 30MM or so big on Cuban Aroldis Chapman, which was not counted in BA's appraisal.  The Giants have marginal focus in Latin America and has been concentrating their funds on their MLB squad.  I don't think this is anything new for them.  However, the Angels typically are heavily invested in IFAs.  They, like the Nationals, are also experiencing some issues getting back to where they were as fraud issues have hurt their program.

When you take this in only the Giants seem similar in their choosing not to engage fully in the market.  However, whereas the Orioles declined paying Miguel Sano Jean . . . the Giants won a large bid on Angel Villalona.  That did not work out for the Giants, but it does show they were willing to outspend their competiton for prospects when they are sold on a talent.

I'll leave you with a final graphic of the number of >100k IFAs (excluding Cubans) from the AL East to illustrate moreso the disparity:

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