Just when you think you’re out …
Although Cuban infield prospect Yoan Moncada’s present free agent status, paired with the Chicago Cubs’ inability to sign such an IFA for more than a $250,000 bonus until July 2, means that the Cubs are an extraordinarily long shot to sign him, they have remained in the conversation. At least peripherally, and in “you never know until you know” mode. Recently, the Cubs worked Moncada out – even after he’d reached free agency – in Florida, mostly as a matter of due diligence.
As I said then, I’ll say again: there’s virtually no cost for the Cubs to stay “involved” with respect to Moncada, even if they don’t believe they have a meaningful shot of actually getting him to agree to wait until July 2 to sign. That doesn’t mean you should get excited and start pining for Moncada again, however. That ship is but a dot on the horizon, unlikely to drop anchor.
Still … I’m obliged to let you know that Baseball America’s Ben Badler has a full write-up on the latest with Moncada, and he includes this line: “Yes, the Cubs and Rangers would love to have Moncada. They’re both being aggressive and they’re not out of the race …. ”
So, hey – not out. Not technically. And being aggressive, too!
But, bringing things back to reality, Badler quickly follows with a multilayered admonition that it’s highly unlikely Moncada will be willing to wait on whatever the Cubs (or Rangers) are offering, given that he’d have to trust the team to make good on its wink-wink non-offer on July 2nd. That trust is particularly hard to buy when (1) waiting would mean the teams that have blown their budget in the current IFA period can no longer sign Moncada (including the heavy-hitting Red Sox and Yankees), so there’s a risk there, and (2) Moncada’s advisor, David Hastings, is not a long-time player in the international market, meaning that there hasn’t been any time to develop trust between he and the Cubs/Rangers/any other team needing trust as part of their dealing.
Badler goes on to list five favorites – with extensive discussion – for Moncada, none of which is the Cubs. The Dodgers and Yankees are the favorites, it sounds like, by an overwhelming margin.
Adding to the unlikelihood of a July surprise is Hastings’ reiteration to Dennis Lin that he’d like to have Moncada signed soon. Further, of Moncada, Hastings told Lin: “He would love to be on a plane right now, heading somewhere, because he’s been out of baseball since December of 2013 – that was the last time he played in a game situation. So he’s raring to go.” It’s just so hard to envision this young man, on the doorstep of life-changing riches, now willing to wait another four and a half months (delaying his career) to sign, even if it meant a few more million bucks.
The Cubs are listed as among the suitors in Lin’s piece, for what it’s worth, together with the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Padres.
If you want more on Moncada, there’s this lengthy piece from Jerry Crasnick, examining the industry opinions on the super prospect (if he is, indeed, of that caliber). There’s also a write-up from Ken Rosenthal suggesting that some executives doubt that Moncada will actually get the $40 to $50 million bonus that has been bandied about (together with the dollar for dollar overage tax), and that the final number could actually be closer to $30 or even $20 million.