Yoan Moncada: The Most Fascinating Story of the Offseason

I wrote about 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada last month, but enough has happened since then that it’s time for an update. Yesterday, he had his first open workout since leaving Cuba, with scouts gathering for the spectacle in Guatemala City. About 100 scouts were there, with nearly every team represented and most rolling a few deep with heavy hitters: special assistants, VPs and directors of scouting.  Before I get to the talent, interested teams and potential bonus, I’m going to take a step back and let you guys know how weird this situation already has become.

An Unprecedented Background

I was told by Moncada’s agent last week that he was allowed by the Cuban government to leave the country, that Moncada has a Cuban passport and can fly back to the country whenever he wants to.  I haven’t been able to formally confirm this, but there’s no reason for the agent to lie about it, and multiple high ranking club executives told me this is how they understand the situation at this point as well.

Take a moment and let that sink in.  Countless dozens of ballplayers and hundreds of normal citizens have risked their lives to leave the island on makeshift boats and under the cover of darkness. The government apparently just let one of their best ballplayers in a long time just leave on a flight to Central America.  There’s been plenty of unfounded speculation about how and why this happened, with some prominent executives still unclear on how it was even possible.

There are no indications what this could mean for the next wave of players that want to defect.  Players were defecting in the old style just months ago, so it’s not like people knew this shift was happening.  It could also not be a shift at all, as the story could be much more complicated than we know right now. Or it could just be a one-time deal. We don’t know. I didn’t want to report this until I had something concrete, but teams are debating how many tens of millions of dollars they want to spend on this phenom and they still don’t know how this happened or what it means, so it seems reasonable to report the confusion.

On top of the unusual way he got off the island, Moncada is being represented not by a known baseball agent, but by a CPA from St. Petersburg who has never negotiated a baseball contract before. From my conversation with this agent, he doesn’t plan to bring in more seasoned baseball representation to assist him, either.  He told me he wanted to keep his profile low and not let this negotiation turn into a circus or to be about him, so I won’t publish his name.  That said, his involvement is a big part of this story.  How this guy got hooked up with one of the best amateur talents in the world while the dozen or so agents that represent basically all Cuban players whiffed is only fueling the fire that there’s more than a few things we don’t know about this situation.

Nothing that’s happened so far suggests that this agent can’t properly handle the duties necessary for this situation (contract negotiations, coordinating workouts, managing expectations, dealing with the media, filing the mountains of paperwork, etc.) but you can be sure that some people are doubting him.  As I tweeted earlier today, a scout at the event told me that two agents from Scott Boras’ agency went to the showcase yesterday and were removed from the premises by armed guards.

A Singular Talent

It was a pleasant surprise for scouts that what they were told to expect from Moncada—a 6’1/210 switch-hitting infielder with plus tools and a Puig body—is what they saw.  It sounds like there will be another open workout coming because, for the price that scouts are thinking it will take to sign Moncada, teams will want to see him face live pitching; he only faced live BP at the workout.  I’ll wait until that happens to formally toss around scouting grades, but the ability we were all told about is there: plus bat speed, plus raw power, 65 to 70 speed (6.6 in the 60), the feel and hands to stick in the infield and enough arm to play anywhere on the field.

Moncada’s swing is better from the left side and scouts said he looked uncomfortable taking grounders at shortstop, though most thought before the showcase that he wouldn’t figure to play there in pro ball.  The popular opinion is to stick Moncada at third base, but some scouts said not to rule out second base just yet and others suggested letting his speed play in center field, which would also minimize the defensive pressure.  Opinion is split enough on his future defensive home that it likely won’t be settled before he signs, clubs will differ on their plans for where to put him and the question likely won’t be settled for another year or two.

An Interesting Set of Circumstances

In last month’s article I detailed the odd situation that Moncada finds himself in due to the CBA’s two-year-old rules about international bonus pools.  Due to his age and lack of professional experience, Moncada is subject to these pools, unlike free-and-clear free agents from Cuba such as Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo and current free agent Yasmany Tomas. This means that Moncada can only sign for a signing bonus and can’t sign a big league contract.  These bonus pools range from roughly $2 million to $5 million, ordered the same as the raw order for the 2015 MLB Draft, and any dollar spent over 15% above the pool amount has a dollar-for-dollar penalty, plus it triggers a two-year freeze on international signings over $300,000.

Scouts think Moncada, despite needing a year or two in the minors, is a superior talent to Abreu, Castillo and Tomas. Abreu got 6 years, $68 million, which looks like a bargain a year later. Castillo, considered a notch lower than Abreu, got 7 years, $72.5 million a few months ago. Tomas, also an inferior talent to Abreu, is expected to get somewhere between $70-$100 million. So, if Moncada were a free-and-clear free agent, he would be expected to get over $100 million, probably on a 7-9 year deal, given his youth.

This is where things get interesting. With the draft essentially having hard caps on spending and Cuban/Japanese free agents getting essentially retail values at this point, the only place to invest as much as you want on young players with a positive ROI is in the international bonus pools.  Because of personal preferences, bureaucracy in shifting huge amounts of budgetary space within baseball operations and distance to the big leagues, not all teams are acting completely rationally in this regard.

The difference with Moncada is that he isn’t a 16-year-old with little game experience that won’t play in America for a few years.  He’s a proven game performer with huge tools that could be in the big leagues in a year or two.  Moncada is the guy everyone can agree on is worth going over your pool, even the teams that trade away their international pool space or don’t bother to spend it all.

The Yankees recognized this lack of rational action and spent a record-smashing ~$30 million on bonuses and penalties last year, while the Red Sox, Rays and Angels also went over their pools (to a lesser degree), but still got the maximum punishment.  These teams had to pay the tax for exceeding their spending limits, and they also can’t sign a prospect for more than $300,000 for the next two years, starting July 2nd, 2015. That same day, the Rangers and Cubs will be coming off of their penalties for going over their pool two years ago, when the penalty was only a one-year freeze on signings over $250,000.  These years of aggressive signings, punctuated by the Yankees’ huge outlay this year, are expected to bring on an international draft (read: a version of hard caps on international spending) at some point, but MLB isn’t tipping their hand and most expect that to take a few years before it goes into effect.

An Intense Bidding War?

So, we have clubs flush with cash desperately searching for a way to spend it on impact young talent, and we have a player that basically every scout on Earth can agree is worth an enormous amount of money — even if it’s all up-front — to buy his six big league controlled years. Moncada’s timetable for being unblocked by OFAC and cleared by MLB to sign as a free agent will likely come at some point in the first half of 2015, though this varies from player to player. His agent will clearly want this to happen, because it allows him to market his player to every team in baseball.

If he’s a free agent before July 2nd, 2015 that means the Yankees and Red Sox are in play and have a ticking clock on when they have to give Moncada a bid worth accepting.  If the Cubs, Rangers or another club that would rather this expense go in their 2015 international bonus pool allotment throw out some agreeable terms, Moncada can wait until July 2nd to sign that deal.  There are already rumors the Cubs in particular are looking to blow way past their bonus pool again in 2015, so it would be great luck for them to get a chance at another Jorge Soler-type Cuban talent in their one-year spree that would come with two years of penalties and a big tax bill.

The teams that stood out most to scouts at the showcase for having a big group in attendance were the Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees, to the surprise of no one.  Slightly surprising, given their lower budget approach in the international realm, is the Braves, who had a number of heavy hitters at the showcase. Perhaps that shouldn’t be as surprising, though, as the Braves’ reshuffling of their front office this summer is clearly geared to old-school, aggressive scouting and development that was the foundation of their dynasty in the 1990s.

It’s too early to rule teams out or name a leader as teams are still forming their strategies and hoping to get additional looks at Moncada before they decide how much they’re willing to spend.  I said a month ago that a $50 million bonus (which would include a $45+ million penalty) is the most you could justify, with a projected price more reasonably in the $30-40 million area, which multiple executives have said in recent weeks is where they think this will end up.

For reference, the biggest draft/international bonus of all time is $8 million (Gerrit Cole) and the biggest guarantee (via a major league contract, back when those were legal) is $15.1 million (Stephen Strasburg).  Given the huge amount of money in baseball, the ticking clock elements for multiple big market clubs and the paucity of free market impact talent, it wouldn’t shock me if things end up higher than the expected $30-40 million target, but there’s still more that teams need to learn about Moncada before they can make that kind of commitment.



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Kiley McDaniel has worked in the scouting departments of the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates and has written for ESPN, among other outlets. Follow him on twitter for real-time thoughts on the players he’s seeing and hacky attempts at humor.


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Graves
Guest
Graves
1 year 6 months ago

Shiz this is exciting. I hope the Dodgers can land him…
I wonder if this is a fluke or if the red curtain in Cuba may finally begin to dissipate.

Iron
Guest
Iron
1 year 6 months ago

The Dodgers are going to be desperate to shed salary since their hoped-for huge TV contract numbers are not materializing. How much of the projected $280M did the Dodgers actually receive from Time-Warner for 2014 and how much will they actually get in 2015? Those are the only questions facing the Dodgers.

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 6 months ago

They received the full amount and will continue to do so. Even if SportsNet LA is unprofitable it doesn’t matter; the contract is with Time Warner Cable, so unless TWC goes bankrupt (which seems unlikely given that they themselves are valuable enough to be in the process of being purchased by Comcast) the Dodgers will get ever cent of that deal.

The only negative for the Dodgers in all this is the possibility that fans who can’t watch the games might lose interest and stop going to games in person.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The deal called for a spike from $4-5 a month for subscribers to $8-10 within 5 years to get to the 280MM a year. Think that’s close to happening? Pricing a deal on par with ESPN’s carriage fee to begin with was greedy, but doubling up on it? That’s just beyond the pale. The Dodgers won’t get paid in the end. Doesn’t matter what the contract says.

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, they will, because that’s the law. They will continue to be obscenely wealthy unless TWC goes belly up, and that won’t happen. Wishing against this reality will not change it.

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Also, you’re facts are mixed up. There is nothing in the deal between the Dodgers and TWC that sets subscription fees. Those numbers are what TWC is hoping to get back from Direct TV and others. If they have to settle for less then it’s simply their tough luck.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Here’s some facts. They’re getting about 50K viewers currently. And they have 30% of the market as far as the area’s TVs. Will it turn into a Giant Houston bankruptcy? Only time will tell. I didn’t say which entity is setting the carriage fee asking price. But the details on price rising are well known to the Dodgers, they didn’t just blindly sign the deal.

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Alright. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is no way TWC gets out of this deal, even if it’s a disaster for them. The Dodgers will be rich for a long time.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The Dodgers will definitely be rich.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Rich Dodgers are great, they offset the Evil Empire.

Iron
Guest
Iron
1 year 6 months ago

Every report says the deal is ‘valued at’ or ‘estimated to be worth’. Unless you’ve actually seen the deal, you are making assumptions. The best assumption is that both sides of the deal protected themselves reasonably in the event of failure as any large corporation would.

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

Thats the popular misconception, that the Dodgers would receive the average amount of the deal from year 1. Thats never the case. Most of that deals backloaded and the yearly payout increased with escalators (5-10%). Dodgers likely only got 150 million in 2014, and not the deals average value (280 million per year)

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Good point. The one thing that was really swept under the table and not reported on was the amount of the deal that is subject to the 34% revenue sharing. It was supposed to be set at 84MM with a 4-5% annual increase, but the small market teams weren’t happy with that revenue sharing arrangement.

greg yaris
Guest
greg yaris
1 year 6 months ago

Dodger deal is with TWC. Diff from Houston, which was a one off deal between Comcast and the team. TWC isn’t going BK. The Dodgers get paid and TWC writes off half the value. And none of us subscribe until the price comes down

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Thanks for the insight. The CPA from St. Pete showing Boras’ guys the door is a fun bit of attention to detail.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

My reaction to that section:

– Moncada just hopped on a plane
Huh…weird…
– Moncada’s agent is a random anonymous CPA
WHAT THE?!
– Moncada’s agent is doing an okay job
Best news story ever

This is very exciting.

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, loved that last bit too.

Totally expected: Boras trying to poach a player that’s already under contract with another agent. Totally unexpected: this anonymous CPA predicting that and knowing exactly how to handle it.

Simon
Guest
Simon
1 year 6 months ago

Given the issues between the US and Cuba, does the fact that Moncada doesn’t appear to have defected in the normal way result in any potential problems down the line? I wouldn’t have thought that the US would necessarily be happy with the possibility of substantial amounts of MLB money ending up back in Cuba, for example.

Trochlis
Guest
Trochlis
1 year 6 months ago

well to be fair a lot of the money does end up in cuba becuase players are sending it to their families.

Simon
Guest
Simon
1 year 6 months ago

True. You just wonder why his representative appears to be someone unknown, and whether Moncada might have made a deal with the Cuban Government or something like that. I also seem to recall that MLB (presumably due to the embargo issues) was not very happy when Cuban players started playing in Mexico without defecting.

Kanuck
Guest
Kanuck
1 year 6 months ago

That’s why the blue jays should sign him. Canada isn’t still hung up on Cuba like the US. Get over Cuba , the missile crisis was almost 60 years ago.

Carson's Johnny
Guest
Carson's Johnny
1 year 6 months ago

Honestly it is not about the missile crisis. There is a large contingent of Wasps and cuban expatriates who view Cuba as a defacto US colony. The embargo is anger about that, and a sop to those dispossessed expatriates in exchange for political donations.

The screwy thing is Cuba will almost certainly end up a US colony at some point. Just a matter of time and circumstance.

n0exit
Guest
n0exit
1 year 6 months ago

Teams would have to look into the legal ramifications of Moncanda continuing to be a Cuban citizen while playing in the US. is that even possible? Its definitely a unique situation.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Oh, I hope he clears before July 15th. Refsnyder who?

Outliar Baseball
Guest
Outliar Baseball
1 year 6 months ago

Can OFAC even clear someone with a Cuban passport? I would guess no.

Brian L
Guest
Brian L
1 year 6 months ago

Good question. Also if the Cuban govt OK’d him to leave, I dont think its a stretch to speculate that someone in the govt could get paid when he signs. If OFAC has any reason to suspect that, good luck getting him through…

Adam
Guest
Adam
1 year 6 months ago

That was exactly my first thought as well. There has to be a big kick back to someone, doesn’t there?

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Great questions.

Politics are a huge factor here. Congress already passed a law in 2009 to allow Cuban-Americans to visit Cuba and send money back home. Obama has supported further loosening the embargo, and rumor has it he may take some executive action in that respect now that it seems the administration’s plan for the next two years is to simply bypass the Republican congress.

But no matter what, you have to expect that the OFAC investigation is going to be longer and more thorough than in the past. With guys like Puig who risked their lives to get out, it was pretty clear they are not friends of the Castro administration.

Clock
Guest
Clock
1 year 6 months ago

CPA from St. Petersburg, Florida or St. Petersburg, Russia?

If Russia, then I think Moncada is the product of a Russian espionage plot to over throw the US by virtue of one of the ebst baseball players ever.

Bruce Chen
Guest
Bruce Chen
1 year 6 months ago

China moved my family to Panama so I could work in the US to manipulate the trade imbalance.

Unfortunately, a lot of GMs also used me to correct their trade imbalances.

PT415
Guest
PT415
1 year 6 months ago

St. Petersburg, Florida or St. Petersburg, Russia?!

Honestly, I don’t know at this point.

grant
Guest
grant
1 year 6 months ago

I keep wondering if Toronto might have some advantage with the Cubans at some point, because of the different relationships. Sooner or later he’ll have to be able to clear to the US, but if he wanted to move more quickly they could stick him in Vancouver for a while until he was cleared.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

This was discussed in an episode of Up and In a few years back and the answer was no. All teams have scouts in Cuba and the player is still going to want to drive a bidding war so they are going to make sure they have all teams watching before they sign.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Based on the scouting reports, it sounds like he would be in the running for 1:1 in the ’15 draft if he were eligible. Any idea where he would slot in for upcoming prospect rankings?

Billy
Guest
Billy
1 year 6 months ago

First off, why would he want to go to Vancouver in November?

Billy
Guest
Billy
1 year 6 months ago

Oops, didn’t mean to post that. Was just joking about spending the next few months in Canada at this time of year. But I guess while I’m here, I also have to ask: Am the only one who didn’t know what CPA stood for upon reading this article and had to look it up?

And I also wondered which St. Petersberg we’re talking about. Is it obviously Florida, and we’re only thinking Russia because we have communism on the brain?

Seth
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The only one.

; )

That Guy
Guest
That Guy
1 year 6 months ago

On this site? Yes, you were the only one.

Luis Madiedo
Guest
Luis Madiedo
1 year 6 months ago

He was authorized to leave the country because he married a Guatemala woman, as I read before. That’s another way to leave the country authorized.

n0exit
Guest
n0exit
1 year 6 months ago

Interesting, perhaps he will end up with a Guatemalan passport very soon then.

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

BTW, if anyone wants to do some preemptive unofficial scouting, Cubana Airlines from Cancun or Santo Domingo through Canadian travel agents. Just bring lots of Euros because your American bank debit or credit card doesn’t work there.

Za
Guest
Za
1 year 6 months ago

They fly out of Mexico City, too.

jwb3
Guest
jwb3
1 year 6 months ago

And Nassau.

Bob Hamelin
Guest
Bob Hamelin
1 year 6 months ago

Cuba, and Cuban baseball players, fascinate me.

It is crazy that so many talented players can come out of that little country, and it is infuriating that they have to go to such incredible lengths to leave and play in MLB.

Hope we continue to see more Cuban players in MLB.

Analyst
Guest
Analyst
1 year 6 months ago

Is it also infuriating to you that immigrants have to go to such incredible lengths to leave and then practice medicine, pick fruit, teach children or be an accountant in the USA?

Of course, unless they win the immigration lottery, they typically have to go to even more incredible lengths. This is not to disparage the Cubans who had to fight to come here, but immigrants from other countries have had a tough time, too.

Bob Hamelin
Guest
Bob Hamelin
1 year 6 months ago

No, I don’t care at all about those other immigrants. If you can’t play baseball, piss off!

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 6 months ago

The difference is that MLB-caliber players from countries other than Cuba can easily get an O-1 or P-1 visa.

Cuban baseball players just have to deal with the same crap that millions of other immigrants have to deal with.

The Colonel
Guest
The Colonel
1 year 6 months ago

Cuba has a bigger population than the Dominican Republic (by 1+ million), so I’m guessing there’s a lot more talent out there that will be coming over. Exciting.

John C
Guest
John C
1 year 6 months ago

Why is is crazy that Cuba would have so many talented players? The Dominican Republic turns out great baseball players all of the time, so why wouldn’t Cuba be able to?

hbar
Guest
hbar
1 year 6 months ago

Another Cuban player whose first name begins with ‘y’… Yasiel, Yasmany, Yasmani, Yonder, Yoan…I’d read a post on why ‘y’ names were so popular in Cuba 18-25 years ago.

Hrkac Circus
Guest
Hrkac Circus
1 year 6 months ago

Communism. Not a joke, they were inspired by Russian names during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

John C
Guest
John C
1 year 6 months ago

Don’t forget about Alexei Ramirez. It doesn’t get more Russian than that.

Simon
Guest
Simon
1 year 6 months ago

There is/was a minor leaguer called Stalin Gerson. I think that tops Alexei.

MustBunique
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Well if we’re one upping, how about Czar Vodka, the AA bus driver for the Stalingrad Mother Russians?

Juan
Guest
Juan
1 year 6 months ago

There are many Yusnavi. That is the phonetic writing of.. US Navy

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

Yoenis?

Umpire Weekend
Guest
Umpire Weekend
1 year 6 months ago

That’s what Papa Cespedes said when the rubber broke.

Jerry
Guest
Jerry
1 year 6 months ago

They call kids born during the heyday of USSR-Cuba relations “Generation Y”.

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

There’s no way Moncada is waiting to sign a deal with CHC/TEX if he gets unblocked before June, unless they offer something ridiculous like 25% more than the next highest bidder. He’s getting all that money up front and he won’t wait a day longer than he has to be set for life.

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

Aren’t all agents either CPAs or lawyers? I guess it’s weird that he’s an unknown but I don’t think it’s that fascinating.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

He, he is either a top prospect, or a Cuban hitman sent to infiltrate MLB and take out the Cuban defectors. Which is it?

Basebull
Guest
Basebull
1 year 6 months ago

I’m continually baffled by the hypocrisy of MLB’s moral absolutism on PEDs while actively enabling human trafficking.

Spit Ball
Member
Spit Ball
1 year 6 months ago

You make a strong point. This Cuban-American baseball thing sickens me on a level. At the same time I wish not to thwart the dreams and prosperity of immigrants coming from hard places. Still this situation needs to be resolved. These Cuban players are becoming economic and worse yet political pawns. The general public needs to better understand what is going on here.

Jerry
Guest
Jerry
1 year 6 months ago

Yup. Very true.

But….they were also great at turning a blind eye to PEDs until it was no longer politically expedient to do so.

wily mo
Guest
wily mo
1 year 6 months ago

i don’t think he makes a strong point. what does this mean? what is “human trafficking”? the phrase as normally used implies coercion, forced prostitution or sweatshop slavery or some such. the cubans in question here, to a man, desire and consent to be “trafficked”, for the furtherance of their own careers and for their own financial prosperity. so what is the moral issue you reference, specifically? are you really so dedicated to maintaining the closed nature of cuban society?

i almost think this post must be a joke, but it doesn’t *quite* feel like one and these followup commenters aren’t treating it that way. sorry if it is

YO
Guest
YO
1 year 6 months ago

As young communist they could not possibly want the millions of dollars, so they are probably being trafficked to so that evil agents can make millions off of them!

MustBunique
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Human trafficking is very serious and these Cuban players who have to go through places like Mexico while they are waiting to get to the US are certainly temporary victims of it. You should read both of these:

http://www.dhs.gov/awareness-training
http://www.sfgate.com/athletics/article/The-C-spedes-saga-4665271.php

MustBunique
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Also their families are often victims, forced to take similar routes to join their loved one.

Basebull
Guest
Basebull
1 year 6 months ago

Regardless of the player’s willingness, they are putting their lives (and likely a good portion of their contract winnings) in the hands of organized crime, which is actively making hell out of the lives of millions of Central Americans. Politics of the US/Cuba relationship aside, I have a hard time comprehending how you can read about Puig’s defection to the US and simply shrug it off as part of business:

http://www.lamag.com/longform/escape-from-cuba-yasiel-puigs-untold-journey-to-the-dodgers/3/

wily mo
Guest
wily mo
1 year 6 months ago

ok, all fair points. hadn’t read up on this stuff. my bad

wily mo
Guest
wily mo
1 year 6 months ago

what’s the solution though?

Northside Neuman
Guest
Northside Neuman
1 year 6 months ago

The solution is Castro’s death.

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The solution is end the stupid US embargo.

wily mo
Guest
wily mo
1 year 6 months ago

the argument was that MLB is being hypocritical going along with this stuff though. and MLB can’t really do either of those things (as far as i know!), cause castro to die or end the embargo.

so what does that leave? how should their policy be different, so as not to be hypocritical? should they refuse to hire cubans until the situation is cleared up? i mean this as a serious question, although i admit i don’t think the answer is that. MLB isn’t even engaging with them until they’re already in another country (as far as i know!). so, what

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Wouldn’t teams just blow past their “restrictions” knowing that the system will have probably changed before the penalties start hurting?

We have been speculating about an international draft for years or hard slotting in the MLB draft. And when the issue comes up, there has always been talk about a free for all if teams see it coming. Especially because team are probably already scout the up until at least 2016. If there isn’t a younger talent that is close to the upside, there is really no reason for a team like the Yankees spend all of the money and just sign everyone.

moocow
Guest
moocow
1 year 6 months ago

It’s probably why the Yankees absolutely blew away their spending limits. They see changes coming that would handcuff teams with deep wallets and level the playing field (i.e. international draft) so why not spend it now? It’s why one would believe that the Yankees will be in the running for Moncado and probably will offer him a pretty sizable proposal. What better way to stock up your system with top tier talent if you can’t do so via the current amateur draft on account you never draft earl enough to get the true elite HS and college players?

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 6 months ago

If Cuba hadn’t fallen down the communist hell hole they’d likely have had a major league team for a long time now.

Simon
Guest
Simon
1 year 6 months ago

Just like the Dominican, Mexico and Venezuela all do, right?

Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
Guest
Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
1 year 6 months ago

Havana’s just 90 minutes from Key West, and used to be an International League team before Castro. So they were essentially no different than Toronto or Montreal through the 1950’s

The DR and Venezuela are way further away, too far to make a franchise in either place viable. I can’t begin to figure out Mexico.

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Santo Domingo is less than 4 hours from NYC, so the distance thing doesn’t wash. It’s more like MLB can’t make money there nor could they in Havana even if it had remained a capitalist paradise.

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Also, Havana is real real hot in the summer. That would be like playing the World Cup in Qatar, if you can imagine something so ridiculous. There’s a good reason their baseball seasons are over the fall and winter.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

@hookstrapped you have never been to some of the best places to play baseball in México and Dominicana then, there are places in México far hotter and humid than Havana will ever be and yet have baseball during the summer (from April to september) and winter (from oct to december), places like Yucatán and Veracruz. And in the US-Mexico border there is always Mexicali which even in these days the temperature is in the mid to high 30s Celsius during the day and below 0 celsius during the night… a lovely place to play ball by the way.

Mazatlán and Culiacán have higher temps and humidity than Havana and will have a summer league team again next year after many many years without a team in summer.

As far as international teams there have been various teams in the past 30-40 years in México with the Laredo Tecolotes, Tijuana and others (one year California was represented in the LLWS in williamsport by a team comprised by bajacalifornian kids from Mexicali and another team from Otay in Tijuana because their chapter is under the California jurisdiction, that year Mexico basically had two teams: one named Mexico and the other one playing as California due to the rules).

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

@Mike I know nothing about the Mexican leagues and schedule. That sounds brutal. LA can be brutal at times as we were recently reminded. I’ve been to the DR and Havana and know they play during Fall and Winter for their pro leagues, though informal youth games go on year round.

KMav
Guest
KMav
1 year 6 months ago

I will be shocked if anybody other then the Yankees or Red Sox sign him. Both teams have already gone over the cap. Both teams have to deal with AAV issues, so getting top flight talent on a cheap AAV is crucial to them.

He sounds like a worse prospect to me than Carlos Correa and I am not sure I would give 80 million just to have Correa in my org. Let alone give up 2 future years of signing quality Latin amateurs too. But since the Yankees and Red Sox already have given that up and get the plus of a cheap player down the line reducing or stopping the tax, it might make sense for them…. at maybe 30-35.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

What makes you think he’s a worse prospect than Correa? From the scouting reports, it seems like his overall tools are a little better, although I’d argue they would rank similarly.

KMav
Guest
KMav
1 year 6 months ago

First, positional value. Second, more proven both offensively and defensively. And yes tools are otherwise similar.

Jim
Guest
Jim
1 year 6 months ago

Would teams be forced to sign him to an upfront signing bonus of or are they allowed to sign him to a major league contract similar to what Soler got?

kevinthecomic
Guest
kevinthecomic
1 year 6 months ago

My Moncada don’t want none unless you got buns, hun!

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

But Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda

NYYfaninLAAland
Guest
NYYfaninLAAland
1 year 6 months ago

A side detail I hadn’t thought of until this – where does the penalty payment money go? I assume MLB, but then what?

Assuming the Yankees for example sign him at say $35 million, that will be about $60 million in penalty payments for IFA’s from them alone, this year alone. Way higher than their luxury tax payments, which now go into the MLB development and pension funds, not to revenue sharing. In fact, their IFA payments may well reduce their Revenue sharing payments.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
1 year 6 months ago

The US government frowns upon immagrants who possess marketable skils and who want to come to the USA legally . It much prefers people with no skill who enter the country illegally .

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

Nobody is going to give a 30-50 million bonus with a 100% tax when they can offer a much lower bonus and make up the difference with an untaxable salary and a spot on the 40 man roster(except for teams over the LT threshold)

So give a 10 million dollar bonus and a 10/100 million contract. That spreads to cost over 10 years and is much easier for teams budgets and cash flow to take

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

He can’t sign a major league contract. All the money has to be in the bonus.

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

Whats your source for that? I know Iglesias signed a MLB contract and was given a spot on the 40 man which paid him more than normal minor leaguers

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

It’s in the first paragraph under “An Interesting Set of Circumstances” in this very post that you’re commenting on.

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

OK, good point. How about 10/100 million minor league contract?

Juan
Guest
Juan
1 year 6 months ago

Before the current CBA.

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

I think you’re missing the point though, teams don’t care that half of the money isn’t going to Moncada. If a team ends up giving him a 50m bonus, that means if he was a true free agent they’d be willing to give him 100m. All you have to do is put a value you on him and cut it in half, and that’s your offer.

It’s actually a huge benefit to teams because the money doesn’t count against the luxury tax.

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

A tax is a tax, be it LT or a penalty tax, avoiding the 50% LT so you can pay a 100% penalty makes no sense. And most teams don’t have the cash to commit 100 million in a single year for a player who won’t produce for a couple of years, although I suppose they could defer some of the bonus if not the tax. Thats an average payroll for many teams, and about 1/2 of teams like the Yankees and Dodgers payroll

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

Again, the tax has no effect on what teams will spend. If a team can only afford, say, 20m, then they’ll offer him 10m, or more likely not make an offer since they can’t compete.

The only effect the tax has is to drive down Moncada’s bonus.

If you disagree please explain to me how it makes sense that a team that gives Moncada a 50m bonus, knowing that they are actually spending 100m, would not be willing to give him 100m on a normal open market?

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 6 months ago

Basically like the posting system. I find it hard teams can free up that much cash on top of their current payroll commitments. Maybe the bonus money can be deferred

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

Okay, you didn’t really answer my question though. You’re just talking about how much teams will be willing to shell out for him/how much can they afford to spend up front. That’s a separate discussion. I think you’re vastly underestimating the spending power of teams like BOS and NYY, but we shall see on that.

My only point is that the tax is not actually increasing the amount that a team will ultimately spend to sign him. It’s basically a technicality from the team’s perspective. Sucks for Moncada, though.

Jorge Fabregas
Guest
Jorge Fabregas
1 year 6 months ago

They can negotiate to spread the bonus out. It just still all counts as bonus with the same tax/penalty consequences.

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

The difference with the luxury tax is that there are all sorts of other implications for going over it or remaining over it for a certain amount of time or whatever. It can have long lasting effects on your payroll. A one time 100% tax on a single contract is completely different.

Nick
Guest
Nick
1 year 6 months ago

You do make a good point about teams having to drop that much cash in a single year, but again, the only real effect that is going to have is to drive down the money going to Moncada which is the goal of all of these rules.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

Now here is another interesting thing that somehow has eluded the news:

It is being talked that Moncada received a passport and visa from Cuba with the condition he was to be represented by one of “their guys” in the US, thus making it legal for that person to receive a chunk of the money Moncada gets paid, that person will then donate his money to those who made it happen.

As we all know, Cubans have been able to get a passport and visa since two years ago (more or less) but some have decided to contact narcotraffickers with ties to US, and some have received fake visas by the Cuban government (well, the visas and passports are real but belong to dominicans or guatemalan persons, at least one of their big stars got banned in Mexico for doing that while playing in the mexican summer league: Alfredo Despaigne).

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I wonder if Cuba is hoping for a posting-fee arrangement with MLB like the Japanese leagues have.

Carson's Johnny
Guest
Carson's Johnny
1 year 6 months ago

I think it is funny people seem so sanguine about the MLB’s pretty crummy labor practices. It should really be forced to decide if it is 30 separate businesses who are not allowed to collude and organize cartels against the players, or 1 large business that can offer what terms it wants.

It being able to straddle the line and have the best of both world’s is a large part of its ongoing financial success (along with fleecing stupid politicians for stadiums).

I mean the current system is tremendous for the owners, but why should society care about that?

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