MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez shares this scoop …
(NOTE: Moncada has been labeled an infielder in every report we’ve seen; if the thinking on where he’ll play has changed, we haven’t seen it)
Lopez, a 21-year-old pitcher from Cuba, signed Tuesday with Arizona for a bonus of $8.25 million. Moncada, a 19-year-old infielder who is also a native of Cuba, is expected to command close to $40 million. And because of his age and lack of experience in a professional league, Moncada is subject to MLB’s international signing regulations — meaning the team that ultimately lands him will also have to pay a ton of money in penalties.
Moncada is waiting to be cleared for employment by the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He’s also being pursued by the Yankees and Red Sox. This bidding war is going to get wild.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.