According to several published reports, the Boston Red Sox are the winners of the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes. MLB.com and other outlets are reporting that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Moncada, who is considered the top teenage Cuban prospect available on the current free agent market. The signing bonus is worth a reported $31.5 million, which would be a record for an international signing bonus.
Under MLB's new amateur free agent signing rules, the Red Sox will be paying a penalty for signing Moncada and exceeding their international bonus pool allotment. The penalty will double the amount the Red Sox pay for Moncada, meaning Boston will pay out roughly $63 million for Moncada, with roughly $31.5 million going to MLB.
Moncada turns 20 in May. The switch-hitter is an explosive athlete who projects to be a middle of the order force. He may need to move to second base or third base eventually, but the Red Sox are likely to let him develop as a shortstop for at least another year. Moncada is expected to start the year in the minor leagues and is probably a year or two away from the big leagues.
Nearly every team in baseball expressed some interest in Moncada, who will be a consensus top-10 prospect in MLB once he officially signs. However, it was believed that the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers were the two teams competing most closely with Boston for Moncada's services. Moncada joins a Boston farm system that includes top prospects Henry Owens, Blake Swihart, Sean Coyle, Rafael Devers, Garin Cecchini, Eduardo Rodriguez, Manuel Margot and Rusney Castillo, who signed a free agent deal with the Red Sox out of Cuba last year. Castillo is expected to start for Boston in the outfield this season. Click here to view Scout.com's top-100 prospect list.
The Red Sox have reportedly engaged the Philadelphia Phillies in trade talks for left-handed number one starter Cole Hamels this off-season. With the addition of Moncada, the Red Sox will have even more depth they can trade from if they want to make another run at acquiring Hamels. Boston is coming off of a disappointing 2014 season after winning the World Series in 2013.