Yoan Moncada's agent had said his client was expected to sign shortly after spring training opened, and he was telling the truth. The 19-year-old Cuban infielder has reportedly agreed to a deal in the $30 million range with the Red Sox, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
It won't just cost the Red Sox $30 million, as they need to pay a lump sum penalty for Moncada's entire salary as his bonus is restricted by international spending limits. Boston had already overshot their 2014-2015 international signing budget, however, so going for Moncada was an easy decision since they were already set to face the stiffest penalties for their spending. Now, the Red Sox can't sign an international player to a bonus of more than $300,000 until July 2 of 2017, but they have Moncada, who is considered talented enough that he would be the first pick in the 2015 MLB Draft were he eligible, as well as a pair of the top international pitching prospects on the market already in hand.
Moncada is Boston Bound
Moncada is Boston Bound
Moncada has experience at second and third base, and could also have a future in the outfield. The Red Sox are currently set at all of those places thanks to Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, and an outfield that already has too many options, but this isn't a problem for a couple of reasons. For one, Moncada is still a prospect, so he's going to begin his career in the minors. Secondly, if Moncada turns out to be as good as it's believed he could be, the Sox will find room for him somewhere in a year or two: they can always make a trade, and having Moncada makes doing so that much easier for them.
Moncada is considered one of the top-15 or so prospects in baseball according to Jim Callis of MLB.com and Baseball America's Ben Badler. Fangrahps' Kiley McDaniel believes he's even better than that, stating Moncada is maybe even the fifth-best prospect in the game. It's a huge get for an already strong Red Sox farm system.
The Yankees and Padres were also considered favorites for Moncada, and could have arguably used him more, but were beaten out by the Sox for one reason or another. The Dodgers were considered the hands down favorites before Moncada was a free agent, but their new front office might have decided they'd rather avoid the penalties the Red Sox have willingly submitted to.