The Red Sox have signed 19-year-old Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada to a potentially record-setting contract worth at least $31.5 million, according to MLB.com and Yahoo Sports, citing unnamed industry sources.
The switch-hitting infielder has been the talk of pre-season baseball, especially after the U.S. and Cuba announced a rapprochement that has the potential to bring Cuban talent into the big leagues in a more streamlined manner.
"The agreement is pending a physical, which is scheduled to take place this week. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $31.5 million — a figure that smashes the $8.27 million bonus record for an international amateur under the current signing guidelines, which was given to right-hander Yoan Lopez by the D-backs in January.
"It is believed Moncada considered offers from five teams before choosing Boston. He worked out privately for the Brewers, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Yankees during the past six weeks, according to industry sources."
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Yahoo explains that the $31.5 million represents a bonus. Yahoo reports that the Red Sox will likely play Moncada in the minor leagues first, "where he can remember what it's like to play baseball after a harrowing 14-month journey to this point."
Moncada decided to stop playing baseball in Cuba to request an exit visa from the Cuban government, which requires them from certain key citizens, like baseball players and doctors.
It took Moncada about a year to receive the visa and then he went to Guatemala, where he waited for approval from the U.S. to be able to work here.
ESPN reports that this signing will be terribly expensive for the Red Sox, because they will also have to pay another $31.5 million to the league "as a 100 percent overage tax for exceeding their allotment of international bonus money."
ESPN spoke to Moncada's representative, David Hastings, who told them the two sides were "still working out the language" of a contract.
The Red Sox did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
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