After months in the making 19-year-old Cuban switch-hitter Yoan Moncada has settled on a team, signing with the Red Sox for what Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com says is $31.5 million.
Most projections had Moncada getting $30-$40 million and by committing that much money to a prospect the Red Sox a) pay a 100 percent tax for exceeding the international bonus pool, meaning it’s really a $63 million investment, and b) forfeit their ability to spend significant money on international prospects for the next couple seasons.
But if Moncada develops into the type of player many people think he’s capable of being, they won’t care one bit. Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that Moncada is now one of the top-10 prospects in all of baseball and ranks as the Red Sox’s top prospect, projecting him to become a power-hitting third baseman or second baseman.
Initially when Josh Hamilton underwent shoulder surgery on February 4 the Angels announced that he’d be out for 6-8 weeks, but today general manager Jerry Dipoto said the team now expects to add another month to the recovery timetable.
Dipoto told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times “it could be as much as 12 weeks” while adding that “until he gets on site and on the field, it’s tough to determine how long it will take.”
DiGiovanna notes that Hamilton is currently rehabbing on his own in Houston and suggests that he may not even show up to the Angels’ spring training complex in Arizona. And if he ends up missing 12 weeks Hamilton wouldn’t be ready to come off the disabled list until sometime in May.
Nick Punto, who signed a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks in January, has decided to sit out the season according to Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona. He hasn’t officially retired, but at age 37 and considering he was already looking like a fairly marginal big leaguer the odds would be stacked against Punto playing again.
Punto signed a two-year deal with the A’s last offseason and hit .207 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 73 games as a utility man, at which point Oakland released him and ate the remaining $2.75 million on his contract.
A speedy, slick-fielding, light-hitting infielder, Punto played parts of 14 seasons in the majors and earned nearly $25 million despite topping a .700 OPS just three times. His best year came in 2006 for the Twins, when he took over as the starting third baseman and hit .290 with a .352 on-base percentage in 135 games.
If he’s indeed finished, Punto retires as MLB’s all-time leader in head-first slides into first base and exaggerated claps after head-first slides into first base.
Left-hander Joe Saunders has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training.
Saunders was terrible for the Mariners in 2013, posting a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings, and then was even worse for the Orioles and Rangers last year with a 6.70 ERA.
In his prime Saunders was a decent middle-of-the-rotation starter who often got overrated by run support-fueled win-loss records, but now at age 34 he looks mostly like Triple-A depth or possibly a middle reliever.
Brandon Finnegan had a rapid rise to the majors, debuting for the Royals just three months after they drafted him 17th overall and making a big impact in the playoffs as a reliever.
However, long term the Royals still think he fits best as a starting pitcher and general manager Dayton Moore said the team plans to continue developing him that way: