The Yankees are sending Randy Levine, Brian Cashman, assistant GM Jean Afterman and vice president for corporate sales Michael Tusiani to Beijing next week.
The goal is to arrange a partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association. The Yankees hope to send coaches, scouts and trainers there to work with prospects and host Chinese coaches here.
“We intend to invest serious man hours and money to make this work,” Levine said.
International revenues are split equally among all 30 teams, so the Yankees can’t gain a huge financial advantage. But as Cashman said, they can “plant the flag” in terms of finding talent.
There are roughly one billion Chinese. Somewhere there are young kids who could grow up to be great baseball players if they get the right instruction and inspiration. It will happen eventually.
China had a team in the WBC and they’ll field a team in the Olympics. If there’s a baseball version of Yao Ming, perhaps the Yankees can find him.
“It’s exciting,” Cashman said. “There’s talent all over the world. It’s finding ways to access it. The next wave is clearly coming from China.”
The Yankees also plan stops in Japan to meet with the Yomiuri Giants (with whom they have a working agreement). Then they will spend a day in Okinawa, where the Hanshin Tigers are for spring training.
That’s a “thanks for Kei Igawa” meeting.
I asked Cashman is it was possible that they could have a minor leaguer from China within two years. He said it certainly was. Interesting stuff.