Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported on Twitter that the Boston Red Sox are not moving forward with any talk of Yoan Moncada, at least not at this time. The 19-year-old Cuban switch-hitter has many teams drooling over him, with the Red Sox often mentioned in the discussion as one of many richer teams able to pay for his services.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington spoke to the media about Moncada, being a bit guarded about the situation:
Not a denial of interest; not a confession of desire. Simply, a ‘back burner’ topic, which will likely heat up, when Moncada is more likely to join MLB. With the international rules, it makes the situation one that many clubs would find complicated.
Ben Balder of BaseballAmerica.com recently wrote, “Moncada is subject to the international bonus pools, which means teams are not allowed to sign him to a major league contract. Any team that signs him will essentially be paying two fees: One to Moncada for his signing bonus, and another to the commissioner’s office for around the same amount as a 100 percent overage tax for exceeding their pool.” This issue makes Moncada a great fit for bigger, richer clubs, like the New York Yankees. Smaller clubs would not be able to afford the price without centering all of their money on the chance that the kid will carry their roster.
“The Red Sox too are over their bonus pool and have the cash to strike a deal,” although, “Moncada has not received the specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that Major League Baseball requires Cuban players to have before signing” (Balder). Until then, why would Cherington say any more about the matter?
The issue will not be resolved any time soon, no matter how many workouts Moncada has for other interested teams. What is important is evaluating what the Red Sox need right now. All of the trade talk has been about possibly adding a starting pitcher, an ace, to the rotation. Why, all of a sudden, just because the boy is incredibly talented, does Moncada, a position player, fit with Boston’s plans for 2015 and beyond?
Infielders, let alone outfielders, are coming out of every pore of Boston’s depth chart. Try telling Red Sox manager John Farrell that he would have to find playing time for another infielder, which is already sporting Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts. With Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, and possibly Allen Craig wanting playing time on the bases, it is already a crowded roster for Farrell to manage. He has to try keeping all of the new signings happy while growing the blooming, young talent. Does he really want another player added to that mix?
Some experts would say that every team should bring in as much talent as possible and decide what to do with it later. In this case, that adage seems like a volatile situation. Not only would the Red Sox be spending a ton of money on an unproven talent, that could have been used in a trade package for a pitching ace, but it could also add to the frustration the players would have from seeing their playing time diminished. Bogaerts may never recover from his painful play in 2014, but at least he deserves to try. His notable efforts during the 2013 World Series run have not been forgotten, and neither has the fact that he only made just over $500 K, last season. Significantly less than the likely total of over $100 million that it will cost Boston to acquire Moncada’s services.
If the Red Sox really think that they need another infielder, just in case Bogaerts does not pan out, then maybe Cherington will not mute conversations about Moncada after he is able to sign. Until then, the hole that people think is burning through the Red Sox’ wallet should get plugged with the notion that they should either keep their money for another ace or other future endeavors. There will still be big-name starters in the next off-season. There may never be another Yoan Moncada, but why should that make Cherington talk more?
** For more information on the Moncada situation, check out Balder’s article at: