The Yankees missed the chance to sign Yoan Moncada, who is a 19-year-old Cuban sensation. He has been compared to Robinson Cano, and he obviously could have been the long-term replacement for Cano if the Yankees had signed him.
On Monday, the Boston Red Sox gave Moncada a record-setting 31.5 million bonus, which will translate to a nearly $63 million hit to the Red Sox because they have exceeded the amount allowed by the league for international signings. They had seven of the top 100 prospects in baseball before signing him, and Moncada will now likely move to the top of that list.
The Yankees reportedly offered Moncada $27 million, which was $4.5 million less than the bonus that the Red Sox gave him. Brian Cashman wanted to sign him, but Hal Steinbrenner didn’t want to pay what would have amounted to about $60 million to the 19-year-old because the Yankees are also above the limit for international signings. However, spending the extra money for Moncada would have been worth it because he could have prevented the best prospect in baseball from playing for their rival to the north.
Keith Law thinks that Moncada is on par with other stars that have come out of Cuba in recent years such as Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu. There is obviously a small chance that Moncada does not pan out, but it was worth the risk because he could turn out to have a similar impact that Puig and Abreu had in their first seasons. When Moncada was in Cuba’s 18U national league in 2012, he led the league in batting average, OBP and slugging with a league-best 20 steals.
Since Moncada hasn’t played in organized games since December of 2013 he will spend spring training with minor leaguers and most likely will not reach the majors until the 2016 season.
Brian Cashman spoke glowingly of Moncada, but he was not able to convince Hal Steinbrenner to increase his offer.
“He’s got a lot of ability and projects to be a quality player,” Cashman said. “I don’t think anybody disagrees with the ability. It just comes down to how much money you were willing to commit.” The Yankees were obviously not willing to commit the amount of money ($4.5 million) that the Red Sox were to sign a potential star who could play second or even right or left field. The $4.5 million is about what the Yankees are paying mediocre starting pitcher Chris Capuano.
The Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Yankees each made initial offers of about $25 million, but Boston was the team that wanted him more than the other three. It is likely that if George Steinbrenner was still alive that he would have outbid the Red Sox for Moncada so that Yankees could have had the next Cuban sensation. The last true impact Cuban that played for the Yankees was Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez (he helped the Yankees win three championships), but the latest Cuban import will be in enemy territory making an impact for the Red Sox instead.