Oct 17, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Andrew Friedman is introduced as Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations at press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers were unable to sign Cuban superstar Yoan Moncada today, the 19 year old defector, who was compared (somewhat lazily) to Jorge Soler, Yasiel Puig, and Robinson Cano. He went to the Red Sox on a 31.5 million dollar deal that ends up being 62 million dollars, tax included.
We weren’t shy about declaring how much we liked the guy, he’s been described by Ben Badler as a potential “franchise cornerstone” he’s the type of player you blow away all of the international restrictions on.
I’m bummed about not signing Moncada (especially at the ridiculously small price compared to early estimations) at 31.5 million dollars because investing 62 million on a potential “franchise cornerstone” doesn’t sound all that bad.
You know why Moncada is great, even his downside appears to be a “Neil Walker” type player with speed. That’s a really really good player, but the longer the day goes on, the more we find out why exactly the Dodgers passed on Moncada
This doesn’t make me less bummed about Moncada, but it does give perspective as to why the team passed on him and decided to go after players in the July 2nd international period. You remember that the Yankees basically bought half of the top 25 international prospects by blowing away the pool they were allotted this past Summer. The Rangers and Cubs were ineligible from the prior signing period, so teams have a history in doing this.
With the news of relations between the United States and Cuba softening a little bit, there is expectation that more and more top Cubans will defect and a lot of those players are under the age of 23 years old. The influx of talent that could potentially hit next year is potentially special, with Vladimir Gutierrez and Yadier Alvarez being eligible for the next July 2 period. Zaidi said something to the effect of “the longer this drags out, the clearer the picture we get of guys that will be available during the next signing period”. So the reason the Dodgers passed on this generational talent is known to us, even if you or I don’t like it. The Dodgers have faith in their scouts, but heck, Badler tweeted this today:
Badler is really knowledgable about these sorts of things, so take him at his word when he makes these declarations, BUT Kiley McDaniel is plugged into the international game too and a scout told him that Yadier Alvarez
"was the best 18-year-old pitcher he’s ever seen following a showcase in which he touched 98 mph on the radar gun and also showed a plus slider and above-average changeup"
He’s available during the next signing period, and the Dodgers reportedly have an under the table deal with a top international prospect
This has all the makings of a massive push for top talent on the market during the 2015-2016 July 2nd period. I will be a little bit surprised if any of the players that come during the next 2 signing periods come close to Moncada, but the positives are there. If a big money team is not going to splurge on a talent like Yoan Moncada, then they better sign everybody available in the next signing period, and that looks to be the case, especially when the Yankees and Red Sox just went over the cap. It’s going to be a unique signing period because of the expected influx of young Cuban talent in the game and the Dodgers are expected to splurge.