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Cuba

Baseball is actually dying, you guys! In Cuba.

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After linking out the first three entries of Jorge Arangure’s wonderful Cuba Diaries over at Vice, I somehow missed one. There are now five total. You can read all of them here. The two latest entries:

1. Baseball may actually be dying in Cuba. At least Jorge thinks so. Why? Kids like soccer more. And baseball’s structure is so strict and formalized, it is losing out to the new and the cool, two commodities that are and will continue to be in increasing supply in Cuba; and

2. Carlos Tabares: the Cuban Derek Jeter. A big star in Cuban baseball in the 1990s 2000s who is still playing today. But a star who, at 40, is too old to have taken advantage of the opportunities now opening up for the Yoan Moncadas and Yasiel Puigs of the world. In this he reflects and entire generation of Cuban people — people in their 40s and 50s — who experienced the nadir of Cuba’s economy and will be too old to truly take advantage of the New Cuba, whatever that ends up looking like.

Like the three other installments of this series, these two are not to be missed.

 

Drew Smyly criticizes the Yoan Moncada deal

Drew Smyly AP
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It was reported this morning that the Red Sox will sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 million bonus. Boston will pay a 100-percent tax for exceeding their international draft pool, so the total outlay for the signing will be $63 million.

$31.5 million is a huge sum to give to a 19-year-old prospect. And it’s something that would never happen under the current structure of the rules for amateur players from the United States. Rays left-hander Drew Smyly sees a big problem with this disparity:

Here’s the full text of his critique:

“It’s not right that a Cuban 19yr old gets paid 30m and the best 19yr old in the entire USA gets prob 1/6th of that. Everyone should have to go through same process”

The thing is, he’s not wrong. It is unfair. However, this is a result of owners trying to keep salaries down and members of the MLBPA selling out players they don’t represent (amateurs and minor leaguers) in the process. An international draft will likely change the structure of this situation to prevent another huge bonus like Moncada, but there’s no question that it’s a loophole at the moment.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote an interesting piece today about this very topic. It’s worth checking out.

Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada reportedly signs with the Red Sox for $31.5 million, plus $31.5 million in penalties

cuba hat
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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.