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.