We have been hearing about Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada for months, but it sounds like the situation is finally getting close to a resolution:
Moncada, 19, was officially declared a free agent by MLB last week. One MLB executive told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal earlier this week that he expects Moncada to ultimately land a bonus in the $40-50 million range. Whoever signs Moncada will have to pay a 100 percent tax for exceeding their allotted international bonus pool, so the total outlay to sign him could be in the range of $80-100 million.
Teams like the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees are considered the favorites to land the switch-hitter, but he has also had private workouts with the likes of the Padres, Tigers, Giants, Rangers, Rays, and Brewers. Barring something unexpected, we can eliminate the Rangers and Cubs from the mix, as they exceeded their respective international bonus pools for the 2012-2013 signing period, and can’t offer Moncada more than $250,000 until the next signing period begins later this summer.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.