Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada is expecting to field contract offers over the next two weeks and could sign with a team soon after, his agent said Tuesday.
“I’m hoping, certainly, that by the end of next week, we’ll have a much clearer picture of where he will sign,” said Moncada’s Florida-based representative, David Hastings.
The Dodgers are among the teams that have worked out Moncada, a 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder who has drawn comparisons to talents such as Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres are also believed to be interested.
Major League Baseball recently cleared Moncada to sign. He could land a bonus of more than $30 million.
“I’m kind of hoping we’re at the final end of the process,” Hastings said. “I hope I will be able to get Yoan into a team’s spring-training practice as soon as possible.”
As Moncada nears his decision, the Dodgers will have to make one of their own -- namely, whether Moncada is worth the cost and penalties that are tied to him.
Moncada played in Cuba’s top league, but because of his age, is classified as an international amateur. Each team is designated a certain amount of money that they can spend on such players -- in the case of the Dodgers, that figure is $1.96 million for the 2014-15 signing period. Teams that exceed their cap by 15% will not only pay a 100% penalty on the overage, but will also be forbidden from issuing bonuses of more than $300,000 to any single player over the next two signing periods.
So if the Dodgers sign Moncada for, say, $40 million, they would have to pay close to another $40 million in penalties.
Perhaps more than the money, the Dodgers will take into account the restrictions on future signings, as they are in the process of rebuilding a farm system that was depleted under the ownership of Frank McCourt.
The Dodgers are still under their $1.96-million cap, an indication they haven’t stockpiled front-line talent in the current signing period that ends in June. By signing Moncada, they would essentially be putting all of their eggs in one basket, a risky proposition considering the 19-year-old is viewed more as a prospect than a major-league-ready product.