By Brendan Kuty
The market for Cuban super prospect Yoan Moncada is going to be hot.
And the Yankees will be the team to beat, according to a report from Baseball America’s Ben Badler.
Badler listed the eight teams most likely to fight for the 19-year-old, who brings impressive power and speed for an infielder. He’ll be attractive to just about every team, but to the Yankees for several reasons, the report said.
One, since the Yankees have already blown past their MLB-imposed spending limit for this international signing period, which ends July 2, they have nothing to lose, the report said. Teams that exceed their limits are restricted to offering players no more than $300,000 signing bonuses for the next two years. But, for now, those teams can still spend freely, as long as they’re willing pay double for ever dollar they spend over their limit.
Two, the Yankees’ biggest holes near the top at their farm system are at shortstop and third base — both places where they’re looking for major-league starters for 2015, as well.
And the third: Their wallets. From the report:
The Yankees have the money to beat anyone’s offer. They’re willing to invest in international talent, whether it’s unprecedented spending on Latin American amateurs or $175 million for Masahiro Tanaka. When you line up all the evidence, if the Yankees truly want Moncada, they’re going to be tough to beat.
Moncada held a showcase in Guatemala Nov. 12, drawing scouts from almost every team and several from the Yankees. He left Cuba earlier this year and recently was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He’s just waiting to be cleared by the federal government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.