ESPN's Buster Olney dropped the rumor Wednesday morning that the Oakland Athletics may end up going after infielder Yoan Moncada after all:
There is an expectation among some executives that Oakland will take a run at Yoan Moncada -- as they did with Yoenis Cespedes.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 4, 2015
Moncada spoke to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez in his first interview since arriving in the United States, telling him in Spanish, "My goal is to sign with a team soon, start training with them, and make it to the Major Leagues as fast as I can with whichever team that might be."
Moncada, 19, is eligible to sign in Major League Baseball after MLB adjusted its policy on allowing Cuban players to play following the decision by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control to decline to perform investigations on Cuban defectors it already considers generally licensed to conduct business in the U.S. The price for Moncada "is roughly ... $40 million in an up-front signing bonus, which would trigger another roughly $40 million in penalty payments to MLB," writes Kiley McDaniel for Fangraphs.
The penalty refers to MLB rules requiring teams to pay a 100% tax to Major League Baseball if they exceed their international bonus spending pools, McDaniel also writes. While a deal for Moncada will vastly exceed any team's bonus pool, it should be noted that Oakland has traded away several international bonus pool allocations totalling at least $750,000 in deals to acquire Ike Davis, Rodolfo Fernandez, Bryan Anderson, Jesse Hahn, and R.J. Alvarez.
In addition to financial penalties, a club that signs Moncada will be subject to a two-year ban on international signings over $300,000, McDaniel writes.
Signing Moncada would probably be the biggest surprise since signing Yoenis Cespedes, given the financial and international spending penalties in place, and would be a remarkable capstone to a busy offseason.
What is your initial reaction? Should the A's go after Yoan Moncada?