|Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas looks perfect for Phillies|
Ever since it was announced that Cuban phenom Yasmani Tomas had left the island nation and would be seeking a job in Major League Baseball this past summer, speculation has run rampant as to which organization was his most likely landing spot.
In recent weeks, that speculation has focused squarely on the Philadelphia Phillies, with the Fightins now considered the odds-on favorites to land the power-hitting corner outfielder.
Tomas played for 5 years in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional, and Baseball America rated him as the #6 prospect performing at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He is graded as having a ’70’ in raw power on the standard 20-80 scouting scale.
There is little doubt that Tomas would not need much developmental time in the minor leagues, if any at all. He would project to plug immediately into the Phillies starting lineup in either right or left field, and would likely become the #3 hitter in the batting order, with Chase Utley moving up into the 2-hole.
There has been much speculation that the Phils would try to change the face of the team this off-season, with pretty much everyone available at the right price. It is unclear if landing Tomas, and assuming a healthy return from Cliff Lee, would alter those plans in any substantive way.
The Phillies are the favorites for three reasons: they have the clear need, they have the resources, and they have the motivation. The 2014 corner outfielders were 37-year old Marlon Byrd and the wildly inconsistent Domonic Brown. Playing time will be no problem.
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The contract is likely to be something like 7 years in the$130-140 million range. For a true slugger turning just 24 years old next month, that is reasonable and the Phillies have the cash. And off a last place finish, there is obvious motivation. There are most definitely other suitors with need and money, most notably the division-rival New York Mets, but few to the extent of the Phillies.
Should 3rd base prospect Maikel Franco continue to develop as hoped, he could team with Tomas to begin building a true bridge to the next contending Phillies team. The signing of Yasmani Tomas should be considered a litmus test for general manager Ruben Amaro, who has much to prove to an unimpressed fan base.