The announcement that 19-year-old Cuban prospcet Yoan Moncada was officially declared a free agent by MLB created some serious buzz on the international free agent circuit last week. Moncada is highly-touted, with some scouts seeing him as a legitimate 5-tool talent, and he held his first public workout for MLB scouts last Wednesday in Guatemala. There were 60+ scouts in attendance, and according to a report by Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, the Yankees were out in full force. Here's the money quote:
"The Yankees were reported to have a large contingent at his workout last week."
Quick-draw reaction? Good. They should have a large contingent there. They played it safe and missed out on the last few big Cuban free agents, and Moncada comes with a much better scouting report attached to him at a much younger age than any of those other players. That younger age will make him subject to the new international spending rules, rules the Yankees already blew through with their big spending spree earlier this year, thus limiting their future spending allowances. But if Moncada is cleared to sign a deal before June 15th of next year, he would count towards the current 2014-2015 spending total. That would allow the Yankees to spend as much as they want on him and add to their current penalty rather than not be able to bid on him because of those future spending restrictions.
Given all those factors mentioned above, given that the Yankees are painfully light on good up-the-middle infield prospects, and given that Moncada's younger age and international prospect status will keep the price down from what it could be if he were a regular free agent, the Yankees have oodles of incentive to be aggressive here. Their plan was to make a big splash on the international prospect market this year and that's exactly what they did before Moncada came along. Adding him to their haul only makes that splash bigger.