Padres still not done, eye Cuban infielder
No, baseball world, he's not done. Not yet.
Even after rejuvenating his ball club with the likes of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks and James Shields, San Diego Padres General Manager A.J. Preller still has his sights set on (at least) one more guy—a 19-year-old Cuban infielder.
Cuban switch-hitter Yoan Moncada, who some are recognizing as a phenom that could live up to the high praise and comparisons to Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig, will likely garner a contract at around $40 million, Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe reports.
Of the teams interested in the six-foot, 210-pound prospect are the Padres, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees. Per international signing regulations, Moncada's young age and relatively short stint in the pros would require any interested team to dip into their international signing pool. Nine other teams, two of which have already held a private workout with the young star, stand ahead of the Padres in terms of available funds at $2.5 million.
Moncada first made his debut with the Elefantes de Cienfuegos back in 2012-13 at 17 years old. The young player managed to bat .283/.414/.348 in 172 plate appearances. He improved on some of his numbers the following year, batting .273/.771/.406 in nine less games but 23 more plate appearances.
This is just the latest headline to create a stir amongst the world surrounding the baseball diamond. Long known for their history as a small-market club, the San Diego Padres have never been known as a franchise to pull out the check book and go after big-name talent. They've settled for signing small-market players to small-market contracts to entertain the average 27,103 fans in attendance at Petco Park—the 10th-worst average in Major League Baseball.
It seems Preller never got that memo.