Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Wish for a Giants Fan

MLBTR had a Christmas Day article about a 16 year old Cuban phenom named Lazaro Armenteros, and I've found my Christmas Wish and Giants New Year's Resolution all wrapped into one.  He's a 6'2", 205 lbs of fast twitch athlete. Here's a quote from an international scout:  "…a rare combination of dazzling speed, raw power and outfield arm strength."  Here is the one that hooked me:  "….reminiscsent of Willie Mays and Bo Jackson."  Well, gulp!  Do you know how long I've been waiting and hoping for the next Willie Mays?  And with Bo Jackson's size?  He even already has his own soccer style single name, Lazarito.  

The kid has an interesting story in that he grew up poor in Cuba, but in a family unit.  His father was 6'5" basketball player of some note.  He has played organized baseball with good on-field results.  Then he got shut out of organized baseball by the Cuban government, possibly due to suspected anti-government sentiment among family members.  He decide to defect.  He flew with his mother from Cuba to Ecuador, but was denied entry and sent back to Cuba.  He then flew to Russia and was again denied entry.  During a layover in Germany on the flight back to Cuba, he purchased a ticket to Haiti was was able to disembark there.  He then made his way to the Dominican Republic where he is reportedly working out 6 days per week in a secluded area of the country.  He is represent by the brother of the Hairston boys and has scheduled an exhibition on January 8.  Since he has yet to be declared eligible for the current international signing cycle, MLB scouts are not supposed to attend, but over 100 are expected to anyway.

He is applying for an exemption from the May 15 filing deadline due to circumstances beyond his control.  There is precedence for MLB granting such exemptions.  If it is granted, the Giants would have a chance to sign him.  If not, they will be limited to $300 K next year and have no chance.

There are several Cuban players still out there who are eligible to be signed this period including Jorge Ona, an OF who looks a lot like Yoan Moncada but bats exclusively RH.  There is also Yordan Alvarez a 6'4" B-L, T-R first baseman who looks a lot like Darryl Strawberry at the plate.  Jonathan Machado is a small B-L, T-L OF who is also eligible to be signed.  

The Giants are already over the penalty line for international signings for the current period. They still have to pay a 100% penalty for further signings, but do not get further penalties in terms of future signings, so they may want to maximize their haul this period.  I just know that if they do not end up signing "Lazarito" that Willie Mays reference will be just cruel!

I'll close with a reminder that you don't have to be a human toolshed to be a great player.  When asked about living up to his first year exploits, Matt Duffy gave this reply:  "I think it's human to think about that, but you just get back to what made me able to do it.  I wasn't worried about hitting .300 or hitting 10 homers.  I did it by focusing on the most simple thing:  See the ball as big as I can and put a good swing on it.  As soon as you think about other people's expectations, you lock yourself up trying to do the simplest things."  

That's from an article by Henry Schulman.

Gotta love it!  Matt Duffy!


  1. A right handed power hitting outfielder would be on top of my list as well. Just imagine how many more homeruns Belt could hit if he was right handed. Just last year alone I saw at least 7 or 8 that would have been a HR in left field but hit the walls in right and right center. Cespedes is the only free agent that could fill that role well but he is most likely outside the budget after Cueto signed. Some people still believe that the Giants could land a bat such as Gordon because of the money coming off the books next year but I highly doubt that. I think Parra or Fowler is more of a fit. I like a trade for CarGo or Blackmon but the haul for either one might be too great. Fowler is the only one who bats right as he is a switch hitter.

    1. If you are referring to "Lazarito" above, you understand that he is just 16 years old and will likely require years of development before he helps in the major leagues.

  2. No. I was referring to my Christmas Wish which would be a right handed outfielder with some power. If this Cuban player has that much upside then it it someone they should pursue even if he is 5-6+ years away from helping the club. After missing out on Eddy Julio Martinez maybe they will take another shot at it. Being penalized for the next few years for the Fox signing seems to be a little much. You would think they would want to sign a few more prospects so that the penalty is worth it.

    1. Agreed on signing more international FA's to minimize the impact of the penalty. I mean, it's only money and the Giants seem to have plenty of that.

      A RH power hitter for LF for THIS year would be nice, I guess my Christmas Wish for that would be for Big Mac to step up and be that guy. Obviously a Cespedes or Upton would make a big impact for 2016 and make the Giants the odds on favorite to win the NL West, if they aren't already, and I'd have to be happy with that. I just don't see another $100 M signing in the cards. I would not be upset at a 1 year deal to bring back Marlon Byrd.

    2. Yes, they should make the most of the penalty situation and just max out on as many sensible IFA signings as possible. Hopefully the new Evil Empires of the Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox are not going to run up the price too much and outbid us again.