Monday, February 23, 2015

Red Sox to Sign Yoan Moncada

OK, we can all breath a big sigh of relief now.  The Giants did not throw a ridiculous amount of financial resources at Yoan Moncada and he's not going to be a Dodger.  Bullet dodged!  The signing bonus for the Red Sox is reportedly $31 M but comes attached with a 100% penalty.  The 'Sox are already over their international bonus pool limit for this year, so they were already in a situation where they cannot sign any international free agents for more than $300 K for 2 years starting 7/2/2015.

As for what this does for Boston's talent pool, it just adds to an already overloaded situation.  Second base?  They still have a guy named Dustin Pedroia there with Mookie Betts waiting his turn.  Third base?  They just signed a large round dude to play the position.  Pablo will probably move to 1B or DH when Big Papi finally retires, but then there is Garin Cecchini who I wish they would trade to the Giants.  Outfield?  There is already a logjam out there as far as the eye can see.  Obviously, talent is talent and future trades are possible.  The BoSox might be a bit thin on the pitching side, although they have talented prospects like Henry Owens there too.

You have to wonder about spending that much money on marginal upgrades on talent already in the organization.  I have a feeling this was as much about keeping him away from the Yankees as it was getting him for the Red Sox.  The Yankees are reportedly the runner-ups with a bid up to $27 M, and if you are a team that can afford that kind of upfront money and really want him that bad, howtheheck do you decide what your limit is?  I mean, we are already into silly money territory anyway!

At any rate, as you were, Giants fans.  Yoan Moncada is not going to be a Dodger!


  1. All you have to do is read your post below about no such thing as a sure thing prospect and realize that this kind of guaranteed money for a 19 year old is silly. Glad we didn't get caught up in it but I am torn that that the Dodgers didn't. If he doesn't pan out, would been nice for the Dodgers to be on the hook for that amount and off the street the next couple of years for other signings.

    Billy Baseball

    1. Yeah, I think that kind of money is insane for a 19-year-old prospect. I could see that kind of money if he was a 5-tool guy and had been called up to the majors and put a good tease, like Mookie Betts did for Boston. Or the club wants to reward, control and avoid arbitration with a player, like the Giants did with Bumgarner a few years ago.

      If I remember reading (somewhere on this blog I think) right, Moncada is only controllable for 4 years. Which makes this a $15+ million/year deal for bookkeeping purposes before he hits unrestricted FA. And with him likely to spend at least some time in the minors, I wonder how many years they'll really get out of him.

      And, of course, he's just a prospect. A great prospect. A very high ceiling prospect. But professional baseball is littered with the corpses of 'great prospects.'

    2. Well, there is a non-zero chance he ends up as an elite player. I'd just as soon that not happen on the Dodgers, so I'm happy we don't have to worry about that happening now.

      Moncada will have the standard 6 years to free agency once his MLB clock starts, but 3-4 years of that will be subject to arbitration, which if he is as good as advertised could represent a large additional outlay of money on top of the original signing bonus and penalty.

  2. It makes little sense from an organizational depth perspective unless you think of the signing as part of loading for a trade situation. In this case Moncada could replace Mookie Betts who goes as part of a prospect package deal to Philly for Hamels, the Ace Boston is missing. Or they could try to deal with the Reds, Nationals or Padres, all of whom have a top-flight pitcher that could be traded to improve Boston's rotation and get them back into the picture in the AL East.

    1. Perhaps that is what they are thinking.

      They certainly can't trade $31 million times 2, in cash to, say, the Reds. What will that do to the integrity of the game?

  3. Yay! The Dodgers won't have 3 of the Top 10 prospects in MLB, plus Pederson.

    But the Giants are still lacking big impact talent on the farm - unless Crick takes big step forward this year.

    Maybe Sabes can send Crick for Cecchini and one of their outfielders (Craig or Victorino)? Nah, that would probably never happen...

    1. There is a lack of immediate big impact talent, but there are several prospects in the system who can reach that designation rather quickly with a good season in 2015.

  4. As with Tomas, the actual contract was considerably less than some of the speculative numbers that were being thrown around. The fact that the Yanks, who can pretty much print their own money, were only willing to offer 27 mil (54 total) might be an indication that the hype machine was getting way out of control and that while he may be an impressive prospect, Moncada is not the slam dunk future superstar that he was being made out to be. It would have been nice in a sense for the Giants to sign him, but it is not my money, and the Giants don't operate like those spoiled rich kids who get whatever they want even if they don't really need it. I'd rather see the Giants scout and draft wisely and build from within, and it would be nice to see them end up with someone like Ian Happ or Alex Bregman, who when all is said and done will have had a better career than Moncada anyway.

    1. It's a bit less than prognosticated but not much. Most estimates I have read from reasonable sources estimated the signing bonus range would be $30-40 M plus the penalty. The final number came in at the bottom end of that range, but still in it. It's a lot of money in one chunk for any player, let alone a prospect.

      I think I would rather chug along with 2 years of signing IFA's within the bonus pool. They can get a couple of $1 M and 3-4 more in the $500 K range which would give them 5 or 6 pretty good prospects for a fraction of the cost of Moncada. That's what Sandy Alderson was talking about when he said he might prefer to put his money in a couple of mutual funds than sink it all into Chickin Lickin' or something like that.

    2. I agree. There is no such thing as a sure thing prospect so I would rather get several prospects that are low risk high reward types. Spending $60MM+ on one prospect who has never played in the US is risky and can hurt the future of the ball club. Just because you have the money doesn't mean you need to spend it. Abreu obviously turned out to be the real deal but that is another deal that could have been a disaster. Tomas and Castillo have not yet proven themselves. I think I would only be comfortable with the Giants at about $10MM AAV for a international prospect.

  5. I'm with you Doc. Thank god the Fodger (Duck'em) didn't get him.

    BBJunkie - you are getting your wish, the Giants are drafting about as well as they can for a team that finishes as strongly as they do and they have an ownership that rarely spends on free agents.

    1. Indeed! Duck the Fodgers!

      Wonder if Boston's Pedroia looks to come back home...Woodland kid. Maybe east bay with the A's down the road?


  6. A couple thoughts on the Moncada shakedown:

    1. It goes without saying, but it's nice that he didn't go to the Dodgers
    2. It's hard to turn big bonus babies into MLB players, let alone premium players, so it might not be insane to splurge on one like Moncada
    3. $63M + loss of large international bonus pools over 2 years is steep, but it's sensible for Boston
    - Money is no issue for them
    - They already have a strong farm and MLB roster; losing out on the big chips in the next 2 IFA's is not a big deal
    - Moncada is a blue chip spec who seems to comp similarly to Russell and Seager; if he pans out, the future Sox lineup will continue to be stacked
    - Moncada is not a bad hedge if Pablo needs to move off 3B in the future
    - They prevent the Yanks from even having the chance to see him pan out on their side

    There's been a lot of commotion about the kid's price and everything, but the fact of the matter is, he's now a spec on a team and every fan deep down would love to have him in their system. It's a little sad though that it came down to mostly big market teams like the Sox, Dodgers, and Yanks being able to make the best offers.

    1. Of course I would love to have Moncada in the Giants system. I have never said I wouldn't. The question is whether that kind of upfront expenditure is the best way to use their money.

      Re your point #2. If it is hard to turn big bonus babies into MLB players, isn't that a reason why it IS insane to splurge on just one like Moncada?

      I agree that a big part of the Sox willingness to shell out was to keep him away from the Yankees. The Giants have not gotten to the point where they are willing to do that to keep players away from the Dodgers, but the BoSox and Yanks have been playing chicken with each other for years.

      My point about the stacked Red Sox farm system is that Moncada is less of an upgrade on what they already have at ANY position than he would have been for the Yankees, Giants or even Dodgers who do not have the elite MLB ready talent in their systems like Boston does. That is more of a positive reflection of the talent they already have than a negative on Moncada. The problem is there are only so many starting positions and so many roster spots. It's not like they can play both Mookie Betts and Moncada at 2B, or both Cecchini and Moncada at 3B, or Betts, Castillo, Ramirez and Moncada all in the OF all at once.

    2. I think these are good points.

      Regarding point #2, in general it would be insanely risky to bank a ton of your resources on any player, let alone an international 19-year old kid. Given the glowing reports about Moncada, I'm more willing to analyze him as an exception to the rule, rather than an adherent. A couple reasons why he could be an exception are:
      1. He has played professionally in Cuba against the talent there (both good and bad)
      2. He's been scouted against domestic prospects in international competitions; various sources have reported that he looks good against well-regarded and age-appropriate competition (i.e. Minor League Ball report stating he performed well against Justus Sheffield in a small sample size)
      3. He's a 19 year-old prospect, which him a little safer to project than the typical 16-year old baby
      4. He's considered more than just a good, young Cuban prospect; whether you consider it hype or overhype, he's been called perhaps 'the best' Cuban prospect people have seen

      I agree that the marginal upgrade Moncada gives the Red Sox in the IF over current players and specs is not high, but I'd argue that Moncada was acquired on the premise that he's an elite prospect, and elite talent (if pans out) will play at a high level irregardless of where they are on the diamond. It could be argued that after 2014, Buster Posey might be a relatively 'marginal' upgrade over Jonathan Lucroy, but you'd still rather have Posey would you not (given money is no issue)? I think the elite potential and production that Moncada might bring one day is possibly a bit underrated as a factor in analyzing his value to the Red Sox. Not to mention that Pedroia, Hanley, Pablo, and Ortiz could age poorly in the coming years; if so, then being able to replace elite talent with additionally potentially elite talent will keep that team chugging along for years to come.

    3. It's interesting. Now that Moncada has signed, the doubters are coming out of the woodwork and pointing out that he is no sure thing, just like I said in my original report on him. Someone at Fangraphs did a study of comparable prospects at the same level and same age. 19 out of 47 ended up with less than 5 accumulated WAR by age 28. That is close to a 40% failure rate.

      It is also interesting that you stipulate that money is no issue in the Posey vs Lucroy comparison, yet you continue to ignore the enormous up front investment the Sox just made in Moncada as a factor in analyzing the wisdom of the decision.

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    1. Wow! Thank you for the shout out! This is purely a hobby for me as I have a whole non-writing, non-sports related career to keep up. As such, I am not really looking for growth opportunities. I might have an interest as long as there is not pressure to produce a given amount of content, although as you can see from this sight, I love to write about baseball so would have no shortage of personal motivation. I will check out the site and apply if it looks interesting. Thank you again.

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  8. What exactly is an impact player?
    We all know how important 1st year guys like Panik, Susac, Duffy, and Strickland (especially in September) were in 2014.
    Other than Strickland's meltdown in the post season, this quartet were essential, if not impactful.

    1. I don't think there is any formal definition of an impact player. Posey, Bumgarner and Pence certainly would meet my criteria. Pagan too, when he's healthy. Belt has the potential to be an impact player. Cain and Timmy were a few years ago and might be again.

      I guess I would define impact player as one who can come in and provide significantly above average production. For an exact quantification, I would say a 3 WAR or more player.

    2. 3 WAR for a full season -- good number, better than "just" a regular, short of an All-Star. An All Star would be, I guess, impactful.
      Extrapolating Panik's partial season, that puts him somewhat below an All Star. If he were to repeat his performance over the entire season, he would be knocking on the All Star door, but probably falling short.
      Susac is in a tough situation: what is he to do? Not quite to the Cepeda-McCovey problem of the early 60's, but similar: guys who can't or won't play anything but one position, the same position.
      Will the Sanchez-Susac competetion to back up Buster come down to whom the Giants want to play everyday (in Sacramento) rather than wasting 4 of 5 games on the bench? Given Sanchez's magic with Lincecum AND Susac should play every day, I'm thinking I'll get to watch the latter on the River Cats!
      Thanks for your thoughts on this. You've made this off season much more tolerable with the in-depth info on the prospects and the various draft possibilities. You sure know a lot about the inner goings-on!