Yoan Moncada

Red Sox land heralded Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada

John Tomase
February 23, 2015 - 4:07 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Yoan Moncada Sweepstakes are over, and the Red Sox have won. According to a major league source, the Red Sox snared the 19-year-old infielder with a bonus in the range of $30 million, beating out the Yankees for the prized prospect's services. News of the deal was first reported by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The move makes sense, because the Red Sox have already blown past their international bonus pool allotment for 2014, and this was their last chance to spend big before being limited to $300,000 bonuses for each of the next two years. Whatever bonus Moncada ultimately receives, the Red Sox will owe that amount to MLB as a penalty, thereby doubling the cost of acquisition. So what kind of player are the Red Sox getting? Moncada is considered one of the better talents to come out of Cuba, with one rival executive comparing the 6-2, 205-pounder to a high first round pick. The Red Sox, according to the New York Post, used Cuban legend Luis Tiant to woo Moncada. The Yankees countered with a renowned countryman of their own in Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. Opinion is split on what position he'll end up playing --€“ probably second or third -- but he is expected to progress through the minors relatively quickly. He's the final jewel in a strong international class for the Red Sox. The Red Sox have already spent $1.8 million on Venezuelan pitcher Anderson Espinosa and $1.5 million on Dominican hurler Christopher Acosta, two of the best pitchers available. Moncada gives them one of the top position players on the market. Manager John Farrell said he was aware of the reports Monday of the Moncada signing but could not officially comment. "There's really nothing to fill you in on," Farrell said. "I'm aware of the reports and the story that's been broken but there's nothing official to announce. I know Ben and ownership will be talking [to media] over the coming days but as of now, there's really nothing else to say about it. "I can't speak to the pursuit of this individual case but I think it's clear that we're trying to find the best available talent, wherever that comes from, whether that's amateur to trades to free agency, that's an ongoing pursuit for every organization. I think it shows that some of the signings over the offseason clearly have indicated the commitment by our ownership to bring in the best available talent." There's no question the sculpted Moncada is talented. Red Sox farmhand Dalier Hinojosa overlapped with him for one season in Cuba before Hinojosa signed with the Red Sox in 2013. Moncada hit .277 in two seasons of pro ball. "I always saw a lot of potential," the right-hander told colleague Rob Bradford through translator Adrian Lorenzo on Sunday. "He's what we call a five-tool player here, and he was that back then. He can run, throw, he's physical, hit from both sides, hit for power, hit for average." Hinojosa was nearly 28 when he signed. He expects the process to be quite different for Moncada. "When you're older, you're more mature and you think things through a little more," Hinojosa said. "When you're younger, you think things through on the fly. That being said, going through what we go through and taking the risk we take, it's always going to be difficult, for anybody at any age. Because you're risking not only your life, but the lives of the people coming with you and making the voyage with you." Hinojosa's advice to Moncada is simple: listen to your coaches. "My main suggestion to him would be to allow yourself to be guided, allow yourself to be coached," Hinojosa said. "Be adaptable and be accepting of wisdom from everybody. Because sometimes, especially some Cuban players, you think you have your own ways of doing things and you think it's the only way to do things.  I would suggest that he be coachable, be approachable, be accepting of other opinions or other people's advice, when they get here. "He's got everything on the field. That's not going to be his issue. Some guys can't translate their ability because they think of the game in this stubborn way and that becomes an obstacle for them. I think he'll be able to do that, no problem, but that would definitely be my suggestion to him." After today's news, he'll now be able to make it in person.