Yankees have Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada in for workout

By on January 20, 2015
Brian Cashman could bolster the Yankees’ infield with the addition of Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada.Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News Brian Cashman could bolster the Yankees’ infield with the addition of Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada.

The Yankees held a private workout for Yoan Moncada, according to Baseball America, and the club could emerge as the favorite to sign the 19-year-old Cuban phenom who some in baseball believe has superstar potential.

Moncada, a switch-hitter who projects as perhaps a second baseman or third baseman, is reportedly so good he’d immediately be the Yankees’ best prospect if they eventually sign him, BA said.

But we’ll have to wait to see where he ends up and he’ll likely be pricey — some estimate he’ll sign a deal worth $ 30-40 million. Though Moncada has established residency in Guatemala, he can’t sign until he’s cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. It’s unclear when that will happen.

One baseball executive familiar with Moncada said he believed the player also has worked out for the Giants, Rays and Rangers. MLB.com reported that Moncada had private workouts for the Red Sox, Brewers and Padres in Florida, too.

The executive described Moncada as “a good prospect” and added that he believed his primary position to be second base, though some clubs might have interest in him as an outfielder, too.

If Moncada were subject to baseball’s amateur draft, he’d be picked in the upper part of the first round, the executive opined.

Since Moncada is under 23-years-old and did not play professionally for at least five years in Cuba, he is subject to MLB’s international signing rules. He will have to sign a minor-league contract, unlike Cuban stars such as Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu.

The Yankees went way over their allowed international spending pool last year, so they can’t sign an international player for more than $ 300,000 in each of the next two years. Thus, their best chance at adding an impact international star may be signing Moncada, if he is cleared in time to negotiate a deal before the June 15 end of the current international signing period. If the Yanks do sign Moncada, they’ll be taxed 100% of the contract, too, because of how much they’ve exceeded their international pool spending.

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