Kansas City Royals Should Have Signed Yasmany Tomas


The Kansas City Royals should have signed Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas last winter.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda is always easy after you have seen how the prospect looks in the major leagues. While the 6-year, $68 million deal that the Arizona Diamondbacks used to lure the 24-year-old Yasmany Tomas to the desert carried a fair amount of risk, it looks like a bargain now that he’s hitting.

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As of Thursday, July 2, Yasmany Tomas is slashing .318/.359/.441 for the Diamondbacks in 62 games and 234 plate appearances. While he has only 4 home runs, he’s shown to be a better than average bat in the major-leagues.

He would look a lot better for the KC Royals than the injury-plagued Alex Rios in right field.

Certainly, signing Tomas had a number of drawbacks. First, the Kansas Ctiy Royals would have been on the hook for $68 million for a player that had never performed in major-league baseball.

Second, Yasmany Tomas hardly fits in with the defensive-minded KC Royals. The 6’2″ 255 Tomas is something of a ponderous defender, with negative UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) value so far at both third base and right field for the Diamondbacks this season. Yes, the sample size is short, but the numbers back up the scouting reports on his defense.

Third, signing Tomas would have compromised the Kansas City Royals ability to retain cornerstone players like Alex Gordon (free-agent after 2015), Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas. Short-term deals for Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios, and Edinson Volquez carried much less risk than Yasmany Tomas.

Indeed, if the choice came down to signing Kendrys Morales (.283/.345/.462 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs) or Tomas, then the KC Royals made the right choice.

Even so, you have to expect the 24-year-old Tomas to improve as he adjusts to both major-league baseball and life as a wealthy man in the United States. Yasmany Tomas has untapped power potential that figures to improve over time. Also, long-term exposure to a major-league training regimen might help his defense.

Though I now wish the Kansas City Royals had signed Yasmany Tomas last winter, I can’t criticize general manager Dayton Moore from passing on the deal. Had Tomas been slow to develop, his $68 million contract would have been hard to swallow for a team that needs payroll flexibility to keep its core together.

The kicker to the Tomas contract is that he has an opt-out clause after the first four years, with $32 million paid over the last two years. Meaning, that the deal becomes $68 million IF HE’S A BUST. If Yasmany Tomas succeeds, you only have him for four years.

That would have put the risk on the KC Royals end of the deal. If Tomas had been a bust in the major-leagues, that $32 million would have been an albatross for a team like the Royals.

To me, it’s clear that the Kansas City Royals front office would prefer to gamble on prospects rather than on big dollar Cuban imports with international team experience like Yasmany Tomas.

Next: KC Royals Bust International Cap

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