Why Yankees Feel Advantage in Signing Best Available Undrafted Free Agents
If you had an opportunity to play for any big-league franchise, working your way up through its farm system while earning an equal salary regardless of your decision, would you consider the Yankees?
Sure, you may adamantly despise New York if you grew up in New England, or could have personal ties elsewhere. For the unbiased individual, however, you have to admit that the Yankees at the very least warrant consideration.
Between the franchise's unparalleled history, culture of winning and top-notch pipeline to the Major Leagues, prospects available to be signed as undrafted free agents – as of Sunday morning – are surely thinking about donning pinstripes should an offer come their way.
If you ask Damon Oppenheimer – Yankees' Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting – why New York has a slight advantage over other big-league clubs during this signing period, he'll give another answer.
"We've got the 'NY,' that obviously attracts some people, but I think that we've shown that there's more to it than that," Oppenheimer explained on a conference call with reporters following the conclusion of the 2020 MLB Draft. "Their career could be enhanced by everything that we have to offer here."
Oppenheimer and the Yankees are coming off a draft in which the club selected just three players – the smallest class in the league after forfeiting two picks when signing Gerrit Cole. Therefore, with a tiny class, all indications point toward the Bombers adding a handful of prospects that went undrafted since each team can sign an unlimited amount.
While Oppenheimer and his staff are "excited" with its three-player class, he assured days ago that the Yankees had prepared a game plan designed to reel in some additional talented phenoms.
"We put together an incredible video," Oppenheimer explained, walking through the club's strategy for the players the team predicted wouldn't get drafted. "There's detail for each guy individually that [the Yankees worked on] just to sell the player on what they would be looking at becoming a Yankee, all the resources that they have and everything to make them get their journey to the Major Leagues."
Oppenheimer continued describing the team's initiative ahead of this week to show prospects why they would want to be a part of this historic franchise. He recalled countless hours of Zoom calls, praising his scouting team for their dedication to recruitment.
"We wouldn't even be close to being able to recruit these guys or, you know, try to show them what it's like to be a Yankee without the boots on the ground from the area scouts and the cross checkers," he said. "What they've done and the relationships they've built have Been have been unbelievable."
That commitment to individual interaction with prospects is set to pay off on Sunday and beyond.
"They're going to be a huge part of what starts on Sunday with the process of trying to acquire some players for the $20,000 because everybody's gonna be kind of in the same boat. It's an even playing field in terms of the money, and what you can do now, it becomes the player, if he has an affection for you and believes in the people, then you know you might have a better shot."
As of Sunday evening, New York has already begun to make some noise with its growing group of undrafted free agent signings. Three collegiate right-handed pitchers – Carson Coleman, Trevor Holloway and Jarod Lessar – have each agreed to a deal with the Bombers.
Oppenheimer addressed the media days before the window to sign players opened, but when asked directly what the plan was for when that period begins, he had his priorities in order.
"At that point, we will go to work again and try to put the best that we possibly can from our board together to sell them on becoming Yankees."
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