In an offseason that has largely been dominated by a trio of pitchers all over the age of 30, 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada has taken center stage with the spotlight intensifying after his clearing earlier in the week by Major League Baseball.
Moncada is the latest Cuban talent that’s captivated front offices, including the Los Angeles Dodgers’, who reportedly have focused on him and fellow Cuban Hector Olivera as opposed to James Shields. Now cleared to sign with any team, Moncada is hopeful to soon complete the process so he can begin his rise to the Majors, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:
My goal is to sign with a team soon, start training with them, and make it to the Major Leagues as fast as I can with whichever team that might be,” Moncada said in Spanish to MLB.com in his first interview since arriving in the United States in late November. “I know I’m going to do the best I can for as long as I can in this sport.”
While Moncada gaining clearance was a complicated process due to some confusion as to what policies MLB needed to abide by, he’s content with where’s now at:
I’m really happy right now, satisfied with how things are happening, and it’s all leading to me playing baseball,” Moncada said. “That’s the dream I’ve always had and I’m getting closer to making that a reality. The unblocking was a very big step.”
Given that Moncada is expected to command a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $8 million, and a dollar-for-dollar tax for the teams who exceed their allotted pool of international signing money, his list of suitors is primarily made up of deep-pocketed organizations.
The Dodgers of course fit that description and are perceived by some as the favorite to sign the versatile infielder. If signed, Moncada could be the Dodgers’ next third baseman as Juan Uribe enters the final year of his contract. The youth and power Moncada brings to the table would be a nice complement to Corey Seager on the left side of the infield.