NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is no shortage of interest in Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada.
The question now revolves around how badly teams like the Yankees want him.
Moncada, a 19-year-old switch-hitter, has been described as a five-tool potential superstar by scouting organizations, including Baseball America. He has held workouts with the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers, according to reports, though CBSSports.com/WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman said he should be on every team’s radar.
Moncada told MLB.com he’s eager to play in the majors.
“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. “I know I’m going to do the best I can for as long as I can in this sport.”
In conjunction with the U.S. government’s recent change in policy regarding Cuba, Major League Baseball tweaked its rules regarding Cuban players. As a result, because Moncada established residency in Guatemala and signed an affidavit saying he’d never return to Cuba, he was granted free agency, Yahoo! Sports first reported.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post speculated that Moncada could sign a contract worth between $40 million and $50 million.
The Yankees are believed to be one of the team’s strongly considering signing the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, who is projected to be a second or third baseman in the majors. The Bombers have been heavily involved in the international market of late as they attempt to rebuild their farm system.
According to the Post, the Yankees are believed to have 10 of the top 30 international prospects under contract, but could face stiff penalties if they don’t get Moncada signed before June 15, because they went above and beyond their allotted budget during last July’s international signing period.
Among their signings last July, the Yankees locked up Dermis Garcia, a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic who was rated the No. 1 international prospect by MLB.com. However, if they do sign Moncada, baseball insiders believe he would instantly become the Yankees’ top prospect.
“I just want the opportunity to show what I can do,” Moncada said. “I just want to play baseball.”