The Red Sox aren’t exactly facing an infielder deficit. This morning, they added depth to what already looks like the best infield in the AL, as Boston reportedly came to terms with 19-year-old Cuban propsect Yoan Moncada on a deal with a signing bonus of $31.5 million. The deal was first reported by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
The Red Sox have reportedly had their eye on Moncada for a while now. His stats are impressive – over two seasons, he batted .277/.388/.380 with 4 home runs and 28 RBI over 367 plate appearances. What others have seen personally is apparently more impressive. A NL executive described him to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN as a “younger Robinson Cano type with more speed and versatility”. The Red Sox don’t exactly have an opening for the young five-tool phenom (although his tools supposedly could transfer into the outfield) but a bench opportunity or a fill-in job for an injured starter is bound to show up at some point. Moncada is expected to start the season in the minor leagues – the stay is unlikely to be long.
The Cuban market is not a new frontier for Boston ( they signed CF Runey Castillo to a $72.5 million dollar deal in August of 2014.), but the deal was surprising to some, as many expected the New York Yankees to swoop in and find their replacement for Derek Jeter. For once, though, the Yankees weren’t willing to spend as much money as others were. “”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. I would doubt there’s any disagreement on the scouting assessment of the player. It just comes down to how much money you were willing to commit.”
Other teams that had scouted Moncada or watched a workout included the Cubs, Rangers, Padres, Giants, Tigers, Braves, Brewers, Rays and Angels.
The deal is not finished, but is expected to be done soon. The Red Sox will attempt to get him to Fort Myers, FL for Spring Training immediately, but it is still to be seen how they will execute that plan.