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Many Yankee and Red Sox fans had never watched any video and didn’t know much about Yoan Moncada. Fans of both teams only knew what they had read or heard along with how other recent Cuban defectors have performed, notably Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu.
It was expected that the Yankees would make a significant bid for Moncada since their need for a young infielder — who has been compared to Robinson Cano — has been an urgent one since Cano left. They did, offering $25 million. But the Red Sox offered $31.5 million
The Red Sox will be spending a reported $63 million, which is two million more than the Yankees will be playing Alex Rodriguez over the next three seasons. They also will absorb a 100 percent penalty for exceeding the international spending limit which is what the Yankees seemed unwilling to do.
Even with the steep price, the Red Sox view the investment as one that will pay off. Right now they don’t have a position for him with Pablo Sandoval at third, Dustin Pedroia at second and Hanley Ramirez in left field. However, just because you don’t necessarily have the openings doesn’t mean a team with a high revenue base shouldn’t go all in.
So now that we got that out of the way, what exactly do we know about Moncada, who is only 19. We know he was perceived to be good enough that as recently as two days ago the New York Post ran an article headlined “Why Yoan Moncada might be the best $100 million the Yankees can spend.”
In the past two seasons with Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, Moncada batted .277 but unlike many of the previous Cuban players, he had permission from the government to leave. Then he held a workout for a reported 70 to 100 talent scouts in November.
Moncada officially hit the open market last week when MLB eliminated its requirement that Cuban players obtain a license from the U.S. government before becoming eligible to sign with big league teams.
It’s always a risk to sign these types of players but as we’ve seen the recent wave of Cuban players to reach the majors, the risk has been a worthwhile endeavor for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.
For as much of a risk as it is, for one thing the Yankees aren’t getting access to such young talent since the most notable young players in the game (Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen) recently signed long-term extensions.
And like they say you can never have enough pitching, you can never have enough talent. Right now the Red Sox seem to have enough talent and the Yankees — while their system is slowly improving — still lag behind.
That’s among the ways you can explain three World Series titles in 10 years for the Red Sox and one in 14 for the Yankees.
Perhaps some day the situation will be reversed for the Yankees, maybe in 2017 when some of those contacts start coming off the books. Until then other teams will come in and get these talents while Yankee fans wonder what exactly is going on.
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