So, the Red Sox signed Yoan Moncada today for 30 MM dollars, which is to say 60 MM dollars after tax. Hey wait a minute
*checks finances on phillies dot fraud dot tumblr dot com*
Hey the Phillies have that much money!!! What the heck!!!
The heck here is that, despite Moncada's tremendous upside (He's like a first round talent, guys), his cost is not just 60 MM dollars. His cost is that money, plus a two year ban from signing any significant money international free agents. So no Sev Gonzalezes, no Carlos Toccis, no Luis Encarnacions, no Jose Pujolses, no Domingo Santanas etc etc. This is not just a money cost, but also an opportunity cost, and forgetting that would be a mistake.
Also, the Phillies have likely heard the same scuttlebutt I have that the International Draft may become a thing in 2016 and are likely saving their bullets for an insane 2015 July 2 signing date. For more thorough and more interesting thoughts on this, check out Kiley McDaniel on Baseball Prospectus' Effectively Wild podcast:
In case you're too angry to listen, the upshot is this: in 2015, the Yankees, Dbacks, Red Sox, Angels, and likely a few other teams are gonna be out of the running to sign any significant international free agents. That means the Phillies can flex their financial muscle there and get many, many prospects instead of blowing their entire stock here on a guy that, while the internet has decided is Kris Bryant at short, is still a high risk asset. Eggs, basket, storage of the former in just one of the latter -- google it.
But, you might ask, what of the Phillies' terrible incompetence in signing prospects? Should we really trust these cheapskates not to foul this up? In a word, yes. Sal Agostinelli, the Phillies' primary Latin America scout, is actually deeply efficient and good at his job -- here is an article by friend of the site Matt Winkleman on his ability. But if you want an easy example of how good scouting can be more efficient than crazy spending, just repeat after me: Carloz Ruiz has 21.7 fWAR, a World Series ring, and a watch from Doc freaking Halladay and cost a bonus of 8,000 dollars (no that is not a typo).
So here's the question: do you want one elite upside but high risk prospect or many lower upside but diversely risked prospects? For a rebuild like this, I prefer the latter; as it happens, so do the Phillies.