The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a huge splash in the international market, signing 21 year-old Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig to a $40 million deal, just days before a $2.9 million international spending cap has kicked in. Puig must sign his contract, have the contract approved, and pass a physical before Monday, when the new CBA guidelines kick into effect.
Here's the thing about Puig: the information about his abilities was quite limited, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Puig was suspended by his Cuban team this past season for attempting to defect, and hasn't played in a game since last June. I don't know how in the hell a team could give Puig such an exorbitant amount of money with so much unknown about him. This isn't like Jorge Soler, where teams were scouting him for quite awhile and had tons of footage and information. There was a huge lack of information about him, and this signing almost seems like when a NBA team drafts the European guy based on surveillance quality footage.
The total value of Puig's deal eclipses not only Soler's $30 million contract, but also the $36 million that Yoenis Cespedes got from the A's offseason, and Aroldis Chapman's $30.25 million deal with the Reds in January of 2010. All of this for a guy who hasn't played in a game in a year. I would have expected something closer to the five year, $15.25 million contract that Leonys Martin got from the Rangers last May…not something as insane as this deal.
The White Sox and Cubs both reportedly had interest in Puig, but they were probably looking to sign him after the new CBA regulations kicked in…not before, and not for such a huge amount of money. At any rate, you can't criticize the Dodgers for not being aggressive…you do however, have to criticize their wisdom in spending this much money on a largely unknown commodity like Puig.
UPDATE: CBS's Jon Heyman is reporting that the deal is seven years, $42 million. Good god.