It appears that the Phillies are in fact interested in 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, according to Ruben Amaro Jr.
Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported yesterday that the Phillies “know [Moncada] well.”
“He’s a very good prospect. He has a chance to be a very good player. He checks off a lot of the boxes, but we’re not the only team that would be interested in Yoan Moncada. But that’s all I can say,” said Amaro.
Moncada is highly regarded in the eyes of scouts, and would be a perfect addition for a team like the Phillies who are trying to rebuild. Acquiring a player like Moncada could potentially put the Phillies back in a position to contend by 2016, which would put them a year ahead of Pat Gillick’s original notion of not contending until at least 2017.
However, pursuing a player of Moncada’s talent will not be cheap. If the Phillies were to sign Moncada, they would exceed their cap for the 2014-2015 international signing period, which would result in a dollar-for-dollar penalty. If Moncada were to sign for a $40 million deal, the Phillies would essentially be paying him $80 million.
Also, the possibility of signing a future international player, as talented or perhaps even more talented than Moncada, over the next two signing periods would be affected if the Phillies exceed their international budget by 15 percent, which would absolutely happen with Moncada. That would mean that the Phillies would not able to make a deal with another international player until July 2, 2017.
“It is clear that those penalties are significant,” Amaro said. “That is part of the process.”
Despite the expensive price tag, a potential Alex Rodriguez-type of player doesn’t come along very often, and if Moncada is as good as scouts say he is, then the worry of an even better player coming along in the next two years shouldn’t even be a concern.
“You can’t miss on a guy that may be that significant a risk,” Amaro said.
While Amaro is correct in recognizing the risk involved, the Phillies don’t have much to lose at this point. With young players such as Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford on the horizon, at least pursuing Moncada is a must if this team is serious about rebuilding.