Yoan Moncada

It's official -- Red Sox announce signing of Yoan Moncada

John Tomase
March 12, 2015 - 5:01 pm

Let the Yoan Moncada Era begin. The Red Sox on Thursday announced the signing of the 19-year-old Cuban shortstop to a deal with a record $31.5 million signing bonus. One of the most highly sought international free agents, Moncada agreed to a deal on Feb. 23, but the team conducted a lengthy physical before signing him. The 6-1, 220-pound switch hitter has power from both sides and impressive speed and has likely already outgrown shortstop. He could be shifted to third base or the outfield, and will report to minor-league camp this week to begin his professional career. Though Moncada is seemingly blocked at second base (Dustin Pedroia), third (Pablo Sandoval), short (Xander Bogaerts) and outfield (Hanley Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts), the Red Sox aren't worried about where he'll play. The signing is about adding another top-flight young talent to a future core that includes Bogaerts, Betts, catcher Blake Swihart, and lefty Henry Owens, all 22. "That's the future, you know?" Bogaerts noted. "We're not just thinking about now. We're kind of thinking about the future as well. He's a great addition to the team. I've never seen him play, but I've heard a lot about him. He's a great talent from Cuba. I mean, he has to be good to give him that amount of money, you know?" To secure Moncada's rights, the Red Sox had to pay Major League Baseball the equivalent of his bonus ($31.5 million) as a penalty for draining their international spending pool, and they'll be barred from spending more than $300,000 on an international free agent until 2017. They considered that a small price to pay for one of the most intriguing prospects to come out of Cuba in years. Moncada hit .277 with four homers and a .768 OPS as a teenager over two seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional. His impressive physique led agent David Hastings to compare him to an action figure. "He's massive," Hastings said. "This kid is the real deal." To win the bidding for Moncada, the Red Sox had to outlast the deep-pocketed Yankees and Dodgers, as well as the darkhorse Padres. Each team submitted opening bids in the $25 million range, but the Red Sox won out by upping their offer in round two. The Red Sox will hold a press conference in Fort Myers introducing Moncada Friday at 11 a.m.