SPORTS

Yoan Moncada, baseball prospect, chooses Red Sox: reports

02/23/2015 01:42 EST | Updated 04/25/2015 05:59 EDT
The Boston Red Sox have reached agreement with former Cuban national team player Yoan Moncada on a $31.5-million US deal after pursuing the free agent and outbidding as many as 10 Major League teams, according to reports.

Moncada, 19, batted .273 in Cuba's Serie Nacional in 2014 before fleeing the country. The switch-hitting infielder, who is listed as a second- or third-baseman, is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and may outgrow a middle-infield position. He has some outfield experience as well.

The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Padres and Milwaukee Brewers were among the MLB teams most interested in the prospect, who according to Baseball America's Ben Badler, will become Boston's No. 1 prospect and be among the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball.

The contract, pending a physical, will see the Red Sox pay a matching $31.5 million fee to Major League Baseball because they have exceeded the limits of spending for international players. Boston will be limited to expenditures of $300,000 on future international players for the next two years.

Moncada staged a showcase for all MLB teams in Guatemala on Nov. 12. He was declared a free agent Feb. 3 and began private workouts with several clubs, including, reportedly, three workouts for the Yankees.

He hopes to join other highly touted Cuban position players who have quickly become successful in the Major Leagues, including Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers) Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) and Jose Abreu (White Sox). But it may take Moncada one to two years in the minor leagues before he's ready to join the MLB club. 

The Red Sox also signed ex-Cuban player Rusney Castillo last year to a record seven-year $72.5-million US deal. Castillo, 27, is expected to be the starting centre-fielder for Boston after playing 10 games for them last September.

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