MLB declares Yoan Moncada a free agent
With a recent rule change, in which Major League Baseball determined that a “specific license” from the OFAC was no longer necessary for Cuban prospects, there are no more impediments to the free agency of highly-touted Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. The Cuban defector is now official a major league free agent and, in the coming weeks, will likely sign the largest contract ever for a player of his age and experience.
The 19-year old Moncada is already considered an elite prospect, with many scouts citing his excellent athleticism and five-tool potential. Currently a second baseman, Moncada may switch to third base or outfield by the time his major league debut rolls around, but if scouts are correct, where he’s playing in the field won’t make much of a difference on his value.
However, with Moncada’s tantalizing potential will come a high price tag. Baseball pundits expect that Moncada could earn a total contract in the neighborhood of $40M and, once one factors in the penalties for exceeding the international signing pool, that would be worth closer to $80M when all is said and done.
Interestingly, that high price tag could also be a key reason towards Boston’s interest in the phenom. The Red Sox have already exceeded the limit on international spending from the 2014 international signing period, making them ineligible to participate in next year’s pool of international signees. This means that, as long as Moncada signs before the next period, the Red Sox will be in a strong position to sign Moncada, as all but a few teams would be hesitant to forfeit their rights to sign international players in 2015.
For a talent of Moncada’s caliber, an $80M price tag may not be all that outrageous, particularly in today’s hitting-starved environment, and it makes sense for the Red Sox to pursue Moncada within reason. This announcement of his free agency is one step closer to his imminent signing, and Moncada should continue to make headlines in the coming weeks.