Premise of latest Red Sox move: No such thing as too many bats
I didn’t expect the Red Sox to sign Yoan Moncada. Neither did a number of people in the baseball industry.
The Yankees seemingly had more urgency to add the 19-year-old Cuban infielder, whose offensive ability has drawn comparisons on the high end to Robinson Cano’s.
Yes, the Yankees’ farm system is improving; Baseball America ranked it 18th in its recent organizational talent rankings. But the Red Sox, who ranked fifth, already were loaded. And now they are adding another elite piece, albeit one who is at least 1-2 years away from the majors, according to rival executives.
The price for the Sox will be steep — a reported total of $63 million, including Moncada’s $31.5 million contract plus a 100 percent penalty for exceeding the international spending limit.
But, in an age of offensive scarcity, the risk for a high-revenue team is worth taking. The Red Sox do not have an obvious long-term spot for Moncada, who projects to play second base, third or left field — Dustin Pedroia is signed through 2021, Pablo Sandoval through 2019, Hanley Ramirez through 2018. But since when is assembling too much talent a bad thing?
As one rival GM noted, Moncada is "going to need some time. And s— changes." Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is entering his free-agent year. Designated hitter David Ortiz presumably will retire sometime this century. Perhaps Sandoval and/or Ramirez will assume first base/DH at-bats. The Red Sox can figure it out later, while the Yankees pine for what might have been — presuming, of course, that Moncada indeed becomes a star-caliber player.
The Dodgers passed on Moncada as well, unwilling to give up the chance to sign younger international prospects for $300,000 or more the next two years. The Yankees and Red Sox already had forfeited that chance due to previous signings, and now the Dodgers can exploit a market that will not include the two AL East behemoths as competition.
The bottom line on the Red Sox, according to one rival GM: "There is a ton of talent and depth there."
That was true before the Sox signed Moncada. And it’s even more true now that he will be part of their mix.