The New York Yankees’ international spending spree might not be over.
On Wednesday, 19-year-old Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada held work out for scouts in Guatemala. Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com) and Ben Badler (Baseball America) are reporting that the Yankees had a “significant” presence of at least four scouts in attendance. Other teams that showed significant interest were the Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, Tigers, Rays, and Padres.
Moncada, a switch hitter, took swings from both sides of the plate and fielded several ground balls. According to Badler’s report, he took so much batting practice that “he did seem to wear down.”
It is also being reported that he looked “uncomfortable” at shortstop but that he was “more natural” at second and third base.
MLB.com grades each aspect of a prospects on a 20-80 scale. Here are Moncada’s ratings:
Moancada was declared a free agent by MLB today.
The only way the Yankees could sign Moncada is if he’s unblocked by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control before June 15th. This is because the team has gone more than 15% over their international bonus pool and is in the maximum penalty range for the 2014-2015 signing period. The penalty includes an inability to sign any player in the international pool for more than $300,000 over the next two signing periods, which could include Moncada if he isn’t unblocked on time.
This may just be due diligence, but if they are truly interested it would be quite different from the recent string of Cuban prospects that have immigrated to the Major Leagues. Recently they’ve been showing slight intrigue in players such as Rusney Castillo, Jose Abreu, but didn’t negotiate any further for one reason or another.