Best 5 Yankees international signings

Mariano Rivera is the greatest of the Yankees' international signings.

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American baseball revolves around the Yankees as its most popular symbol. This makes many foreign players harbor a dream of playing for the Bronx Bombers. During a typical international signing period, the Yankees like to use their bonus pool on a wide range of players because they know that predicting prospects is not an exact science. One such scouting led them to zero on Jasson Dominguez, who now ranks as their No. 2 prospect.

The big outfielder with a smooth, compact swing and great bat speed is often compared to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle, and Mike Trout. His performance last season puts the 17-year-old “The Martian” at the forefront of a likely MLB debut soon than expected. However, he is not the only overseas player to lit up the Yankees organization. They have many foreign legends before him. Here are the five best Yankees international signings of all time.

Mariano Rivera: MLB’s greatest closer

Born to a fisherman family in Panama, Mariano Rivera signed on February 17, 1990, and rose to rank among the greatest ever to play for the Yankees. Rivera joined a local amateur baseball team when he was 18. Yankees scout Chico Heron heard about him and invited him to a tryout camp. Rivera didn’t have any formal training as a pitcher, and his speed was between 85 and 87 mph. But his athleticism and smooth mechanics attracted scouts’ attention to get a deal that gave him a $2,500 signing bonus. It turned out to be a good investment for the player who ended up having the most saves of all time and becoming baseball’s first unanimous Hall of Famer.

Bernie Williams: The four-time WS champ

A native of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams caught the attention of the Yankees in the mid-1980s. He had a gold medal in track and field and experience in the Little League and Babe Ruth League. William played against some MLB players while in those minor leagues and got the attention of Yankees scout Roberto Rivera. On his 17th birthday, Williams signed a professional contract and was sent to a baseball camp in Connecticut. So began a career in which the switch-hitter would get 2,336 hits in the Major Leagues, have a slash line of .297/.381/.477 with an OPS+ of 125, and win four World Series rings.

Robinson Cano: The finest second baseman

Cano went to school for three years in Newark, New Jersey, before going back to his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. There, Yankees scout Victor Mata took notice of him. His father Jose Cano had pitched briefly for the Astros, Braves, and Yankees. When he first started coming up through the farm system, Cano got a signing bonus of around $100,000 and was seen as a solid but not particularly exciting prospect. In 2005, Canó made his debut in the Major Leagues. In his nine seasons with the New York Yankees, he hit .309/.355/.504 with a 126 OPS+ and was named to five All-Star teams, and won two Gold Gloves.

Orlando Hernandez: Cashman’s best choice

If you ask Yankees general manager Brian Cashman who was the best player he signed, he will tell you it was “El Duque.” Orlando Hernandez left Cuba before the 1998 season and signed a four-year, $5.6 million contract. Hernández’s arsenal, which he had worked on for a decade with Industriales de Havana and the Cuban National team, helped him win 139 games for the Yankees from 1998 to 2004 with a 61–40 record and a 3.96 ERA (116 ERA+).

Hideki Matsui: The Superstar Samurai

When Hideki Matsui moved to New York at age 29 for the 2003 season, he was already a well-known star. Matsui signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Yankees in 2003. From 2003 to 2009, he played seven seasons with the Yankees and had a slash line of .292/.370/.482 and an OPS+ of 123. “Godzilla” had a great last game with the Yankees. In Game 6, which decided the 2009 World Series, he drove in six runs and was named the Most Valuable Player.

Do you have any other Yankees’ international signing to add? Please let’s know in the comments.

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