For multiple decades the Los Angeles Dodgers have been an organization that’s succeeded in identifying and signing international players with the capability of succeeding in the Majors.
The Dodgers’ most recent success is in Yasiel Puig, who’s rockstar persona fits well in Los Angeles, and talent has him pegged as a cornerstone for the present and future. While the Dodgers were relatively quiet during free agency, opting not to overexert themselves for the likes of Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields, they’ve had a strong presence in the international market.
Although president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has only been with the Dodgers for four months, he spoke highly of the team’s international department and players who are now available, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
There certainly has been a number of very interesting guys that have become available in the last six to eight months,” Friedman said Friday. “Our international department has done a tremendous job of evaluating these players. We also have a paper trail from various international tournaments over the past few years. We’re continually evaluating opportunities where we can operate most efficiently.”
In what began with the Dodgers being linked to 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada has grown to include Hector Olivera, another infielder and fellow Cubans, pitchers Yadier Alvarez and Jorge Hernandez. Moncada has twice worked out for the Dodgers and in the case of the latter three players, the Dodgers have had a group on hand to watch them during showcases.
While Moncada is considered the biggest prize among the Cuban prospects, it isn’t beyond reason to believe the Dodgers will sign more than one Cuban prospect before the dust ultimately settles.
Yasmani Grandal Discusses Matt Kemp Trade, Health