Its been two days since the announcement of the end of the bidding war for Cuban 19 year old prospect, Yoan Moncada. The Boston Red Sox won, the New York Yankees lost. Boston acquired the young infielder who is projected to be able to play three positions, second, third, or short. Though he hit only .277 last year, the Red Sox paid the most anyone has paid for an amateur international athlete, $63 million in total, 31.5 million in the form of a signing bonus alone.
The move is a preview of things to come as Cuban-U.S. relations improve, Cuba is being looked at as the next major source of new talent for MLB. Boston likes its Cubans as proven by their free agent signing last year of Rusney Castillo for $72 million over seven years.
The difference is that Moncada is unproven. But the pressure of recent Red Sox reverses which led them to spend lavishly on free agents Pablo Sandoval from the current World Champions, San Francisco Giants and Hanley Ramirez is an indication of what desperation will do to a franchise.
“He’s got a lot of ability and projects to be a quality player,”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
“I don’t think anybody disagrees with the ability. It just comes down to how much money you were willing to commit.”
The downside will be that the Red Sox cannot sign an international free agent for two years and the tax allotment which the Sox will have to dole out will be at 100%. But Boston seemed to have used the human touch as they employed former player, Luis Tiant, who ate and worked out with Yoan beforehand.
“From the get-go, Boston was there to offer any assistance, any advice,”
David Hastings, who represented Moncada said as much,
“Whether they were the eventual winner or not, they were concerned with Yoan as an individual as much as a potential superstar. Mentoring was a part of their commitment.”
Whether Moncada upside is worth the payout remains to be seen, but Boston is willing to roll the dice.