Yes, every 16-year old is a projection. Since the big $ guys commit at 14 or 15, it is an even more difficult projection. Unfortunately, our scouts seem below average is making accurate or even partially-accurate projections. It doesn't help if you get conned by a guy like Yhoswar and project based upon a phony yardstick which assumes he's a year younger than he is. When confronted with this error on age and the certainty of a year's suspension for misrepresenting himself, the Phillies commented that, regardless of actual age, they liked what they saw in him. This is either an outright lie or the refusal of their scouting system to discount performance based upon age when projecting the kid's future MLB potential.
Yes, are LA staff were horrible negotiators. In what world do you stick to your very large bonus offer to a guy who lied about his age and faces a suspension if you sign him? Certainly not the same world in which another team gets around the problem of projecting a 14- or 15- year old's future by committing to more bonuses than they can pay, taking a second look when the kids are 16 and the international signing period rolls around, and then simply reneging on the offers to the ones who haven't developed as well over the ~1 year since they locked them up. No penalty from the Commish on that one, btw.
I'm glas you agree that Bergolia was also an overpay, along with Ortiz. That suggests that same-old, same-old was still in place quite recently.
I agree that pitchers are harder to project at this age, but since the current common wisdom across MLB is to focus upon position players as a result, and since we've done so poorly with the position players, I think this may well be an inefficiency that the Phillies should take advantage of. They could have their pick of the 16-year old LA pitchers for bonuses far smaller than the bonuses we've been giving to our top position player picks. Probably a dozen serious pitching prospects, the majority of which won't develop satisfactorily, in place of the $4 million to Ortiz. Likely at least a handful for the bonus we gave Bergolia. We have a better record of developing LA pitching prospects, for cheap, than we do with costly position players. It's worth a try. The team literally has nothing to lose.