February 23, 2015
Yoan Moncada Agrees To Deal With Boston Red Sox

After months of rumors and speculation, the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes have concluded as the Cuban infielder agreed to a deal worth $31.5 million with the Boston Red Sox, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

In further analysis of the transaction, Sanchez broke down the specifics of the record breaking signing.
"The agreement is pending a physical. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $31.5 million -- a figure that smashes the $8.27 million bonus record for an international amateur under the current signing guidelines, which was given to right-hander Yoan Lopez by the D-backs in January."
Just 19 -years-old, Moncada carries with him superstar potential. His age aside, he is a versatile player who is capable to playing second base, third base and shortstop. As a part of the Cienfuegos in Cuba's Serie Nacional last season, the switch-hitter posted a.273/.365/.406 bating line.

This signing will prove to be a costly one for Boston. Under the new structure of how teams are allowed to spend during the international signing period, this transaction will end up costing the Red Sox $63 million in total.

Jesse Sanchez breaks down the details:

"Because he is not yet 23 years old and did not play in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada is subject to Major League Baseball's international signing guidelines, under which each team is allotted $700,000 and an additional bonus pool based on the team's record the previous year to be used during the international signing period. The current period started July 2 and ends on June 15.
"According to those guidelines, clubs are penalized during the upcoming 2015-16 signing period if they exceed their bonus pools by certain amounts. The Red Sox had already exceeded their bonus pool before this signing and been given the maximum penalty. It's a severe measure that includes a 100-percent tax on their pool overage and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. Including the penalty for exceeding their bonus pool, Moncada's deal will cost the Red Sox $63 million -- the bonus plus the penalty."
In compliance with MLB and their new guidelines, the organization must receive a sworn statement that any Cuban import is complying with the Section 515.05 of Cuban Assets Control Regulations. Without such proof, a player may not sign with any team. Therefore, this makes Moncada the first player to sign under the new guidelines.

However, what may be most impressive about Moncada is the journey which led him to signing in Boston. Unlike many before him, Moncada didn't defect or escape from Cuba to pursue a career in the majors. Instead, he was released by the Cienfuegos last year before receiving both clearance and a visa/passport by the Cuban government. Much easier and non-life threatening protocol as opposed to the near fatal journey of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

During his stint in Cuba, Moncada was teammates with several future big league players. Among those names is last years American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Dodgers infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena. He was also teammates with the likes of Yulieski Gourriel, Alfredo Despaigne and Jose Miguel Fernandez during the 2013 World Port Tournament as part of Cuba's national team.

The signing proves the reports of the Red Sox and their preconceived lack of interest in the teenager as false. It also proves the Yankees, who were rumored to be early favorites weren't as serious in bringing in Moncada as first believed.

Although, New York did bring him in for a second private workout this week.

He will join fellow Cuban import Rusney Castillo and the other surplus of talent on the Red Sox roster. It is expected that Moncada will begin his career in the States at the minor league level as he works his way up to the majors. As noted by Ben Bradler of Baseball America, he would be considered one of the top prospects in the game upon the signing becoming official.

All told, the Red Sox have just improved their future significantly by inking the Cuban prodigy. With his aforementioned young age, switch hitting and versatile abilities mixed with his improving bat, we could see Moncada develop into a Yawkey Way mainstay for the foreseeable future.

[Image via Jesse Sanchez]