It was such a perfect solution.
Yasmany Tomas, this 24-year-old power-hitting outfielder from Cuba, was going to come to Philadelphia and inject the Phillies with youth and power, two things the team desperately needs. He was going to sign here for about seven years and around $90-100 million, a risk to be sure, but an exciting one that would have helped generate interest in the team next season and for years to come.
Here was a free agent in his early 20s, someone that wouldn't require a draft pick or prospects, for the Phillies to go out and get. All they had to do was sign him to a free agent contract.
And it didn't happen.
Breaking: Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas & D-backs have agreed to a 6-year deal worth $68.5M, according to sources http://t.co/haBhc6LtHh— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) November 26, 2014
Obviously, this is disappointing. I'm bumming pretty hard here. I was pinning a lot of my hopes and expectations, and predicted in this space on numerous occasions, that Yasmany Tomas was going to be a Phillie. For so long, it just felt inevitable.
Then the stupid D-Backs, Tomas' agent, and their collection of jerks all got in the way.
Over the last few weeks, you've heard a lot of negative comments about Tomas coming out of the Phillies' camp. They didn't like his defense and his build, they said. And while some of those concerns are legitimate and should give any team pause, they may have been overblown a tad.
Yasmany Tomas is not a DH. He's a big guy, but he moves much better than you'd think from his body type. And plenty of arm for right field.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) November 26, 2014
All that stuff about defense and body type was really a negotiating ploy. It was a smoke screen. The main reason the Phillies balked at this deal wasn't because of the dollar amount. It was about this little nugget that became a poison pill in the minds of the Phils.
As badly as I wanted the Phillies to sign Tomas, that opt-out after the fourth year was a deal-killer. Signing Tomas only made sense if the commitment was going to be for a solid six or seven years. Or, if the option was a team option, not a player option.
An opt-out after four years would have meant the Phillies would have lost Tomas just as the team was ready to compete again (if all things go well over the next couple seasons). It just didn't make sense for Ruben Amaro and the Phils' front office to agree to something like that, even if the dollar amount was palatable.
Nevertheless, if Tomas turns out to be a star for the Diamondbacks, Phillies fans are never going to forgive Amaro for not signing him, which kind of puts Ruben in a tough spot. I'm sure Ruben isn't hoping that Tomas fails with Arizona, but it sure would make him look a lot better if Yasmany struggles.
Interestingly, not signing Tomas carries just as much risk for Amaro as signing him would have. It's always risky to sign a Cuban import you've never seen play to a long-term, multi-million dollar contract. But it's also risky for a person in Ruben's situation - working the final year of a deal in a city in which many of the fans already want him gone - to NOT go for it, to NOT roll the dice, and NOT take a risk.
Honestly, I'm feeling a lot of feelings right now. I'm disappointed this didn't work out, and that it was mostly out of the Phillies' control. I'm angry that the Diamondbacks got him. I'm crestfallen that the only thing we have to look forward to now this off-season is a possible Cole Hamels trade, which won't exactly be a "happy" day, either.
Yasmany Tomas was just a perfect fit of player and team. But as is always the case with free agency, sometimes much of what happens is out of the team's control. Ultimately, the player and his agent decides where he's going to go.
So, Yasmany Tomas won't be a Phillie. He'll be a Diamondback.
I understand why. I just don't like it.