Highly touted Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada has been officially declared eligible to become a Major League free agent, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Major League Baseball recently changed its policy with international players. Now, players can show sworn affidavits stating they are residents of another country and have no intentions on returning to Cuba. Moncada moved to Guatemala and obtained permanent documents stating his residents.
The 19-year-old infielder is highly regarding as the “next big thing.” That should not surprise a lot of people as players coming in from Cuba have shown that they are some of the best players in the game ala the likes of Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and Aroldis Chapman to name a few.
Eight teams, including big money teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox have held private workouts for Moncada.
Many people believe it will be one of the aforementioned teams that will ultimately land Moncada just because he is going to come with a high price tag. The Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have already exceeded their international bonus, so they will be taxed no matter what. Expect those teams to go in heavily for Moncada because regardless they have to pay the tax.
Moncada is expected to land a deal north of $30 million.
The last time there was this much hype over an international player was when Jorge Soler came out of Cuba. Soler blew through the Cubs organization and is projected to be their starting right fielder come opening day.
It is going to be fun to see the bidding war for this young prospect. But if I was a betting man, I would have to put my money on the New York Yankees.
With the retirement of Derek Jeter, the Yankees are in need of another superstar, even though Jeter was nothing close to that in his finals years as a Yankee. This team is desperate for a guy who fans will come out to see, and they may have some money to spend.
With a growing farm system, the Yankees can use a top of the line prospect like Moncada. Scouts have said that if he was eligible for the MLB Amateur Draft, he would be the consensus number one overall pick, so you can see why teams are so interested.
It is going to be fascinating to see where he lands and for how much, however, wherever Yoan Moncada lands, they will be sure to have a top prospect with star potential.