When teams are given the opportunity to sign a 19-year-old impact player, many jump for the opportunity and will not back down from paying whatever it takes to get him.
That's what happened with Yoan Moncada.
The Boston Red Sox agreed to sign the Cuban infielder Monday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Moncada's signing bonus was for $31.5 million. The Red Sox will have to pay a 100 percent tax on that money, as it exceeded their allotted international signing bonuses from this signing period.
Moncada may just be worth the money.
Regarded as a five-tool talent, the Cuban import has already received comparisons to Robinson Cano and Chase Utley in his prime. Many prospect writers and specialists would have expected Moncada to have gone first or second overall in the MLB Draft had he been eligible. According to Baseball America's Ben Badler, Moncada's signing, when official, will make him the Red Sox' top prospect and the 10th prospect in the sport. His arrival in Fenway is already highly awaited.
Big market teams like Boston, along with the Yankees and Dodgers, had the inside edge on signing Moncada, mostly his high cost with the 100 percent penalty for signing him. New York was considered a finalist. However, smaller market teams like the Brewers and Padres were also considered finalists, but they were likely unable to afford the $63 million the Red Sox will be paying to Moncada and Major League Baseball in both the contracts and penalty.
Unlike a normal contract, Moncada's contract does not include a number of years he will be with the club. The Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal, with the $31.5 million figure just serving as a bonus. Moncada will work his way through the minors and earn either the big league minimum or just above the big league minimum during his first three seasons. Then, based on his performance, his salary will jump in arbitration, like a regular minor leaguer.
Moncada is a true second baseman, but with Dustin Pedroia at second for the foreseeable future in Boston, he will likely change positions to third base, shortstop, or possibly in the outfield, if he outgrows the infield positions. With Xander Bogaerts currently slotted at short, the most likely answer for Moncada is to move to third base, with Pablo Sandoval shifting to first.
The $31.5 million bonus absolutely demolishes the old record for an international signee. That record was held twice before during this offseason, first with an $8 million mark for now-Angel Roberto Baldoquin, then by Yoan Lopez with an $8.27 million bonus with the Diamondbacks. Moncada's signing may be the beginning of talks for an international draft, thus allowing more teams to be involved in acquiring him, besides just the big market teams.
A 19-year-old impact player will make a lot of noise. Teams will not back down. The Red Sox certainly didn't with their record-breaking signing of Yoan Moncada.