The latest Boston Red Sox rumors could prove costly for the Olde Towne Team — if they’re true. But is it really the case, as one respected baseball writer reported Thursday, that the Red Sox are one of two teams now considered “heavy favorites” to sign teenage Cuban super-prospect Yoan Moncada?
The price to sign Moncada may be higher than the benefit the Red Sox could derive from paying the sky-high price required to bring the prized 19-year-old to Boston, due the special requirements imposed by Major League Baseball on signing a foreign player as young as Moncada.
And that’s not all. According to FanGraphs writer Kiley McDaniel, who created the latest stir over Moncada with a single tweet, there is another team which also ranks as one of the two “heavy favorites” to ink Moncada. And of course, it could only be the Red Sox bete noir — the New York Yankees.
Yes. NYY & BOS are the heavy favorites. RT @NorbertoPaulino Have you heard anything on if the Red Sox are indeed in on Moncada?
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) January 8, 2015
As reported in an earlier Inquisitr “Red Sox Rumors” report, the youthful Moncada is considered by most scouts to be the best prospect ever to come out of Cuba. The infielder — a natural third baseman who is reportedly equally skilled at shortstop and second base — has “more upside” than the Red Sox $72.5 million Cuba signing from last year, Rusney Castillo, according to Baseball America.
After Moncada worked out in Guatemala in November, with about 70 Major League scouts in attendance, Boston was not considered one of the teams with heavy interest in the Cuban sensation, despite what was described as a “significant presence” at the showcase performance.
The Red Sox were thought to be focused on filling their third base slot with San Francisco Giants free agent Pablo Sandoval — which Boston soon accomplished, bringing not only Sandoval but Hanley Ramirez also on board.
The Red Sox signed Sandoval to a five-year deal, while Moncada is thought to possess such advanced skills that he will need no more than two years in the minor leagues before he’s ready to make the jump to the Bigs.
At shortstop, Xander Bogaerts is just 22-years-old, and unless Boston includes him in a shock trade for Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels, appears to have the Red Sox shortstop position sewn up. And of course, Dustin Pedroia owns second base in Boston — it seems fair to say that as long as Pedroia can stand up, the position is his.
So where do the Red Sox put Yoan Moncada if they spend the estimated $30 million to $40 million he is likely to demand?
That brings up yet another obstacle for the Red Sox or any team, to signing Moncada. Because the Cuban teen is under 23, special international free agent signing rules apply. The short version is that due to penalties and taxes, a projected $40 million deal could cost any team close to double that amount.
All for a player whose likely routes to Boston are all blocked.
In the end, however, talent could win out over such practical considerations. One top Major League scout told MLB.com the following.
“This game is about talent and Moncada is the kind of talent worth the investment.”
The Red Sox certainly have the cash to spend, and investing in pure talent is often the best investment a team can make. So perhaps the rumors have some truth to them, and Boston may take a chance of signing Yoan Moncada after all.