For the last couple of weeks, I have been wondering why the Phillies never seemed to come up in discussions involving Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada. It seems like a perfect match, and yet while other teams were tossed around, the Phils never made the rumor lists.
As has been rehashed ad nauseam, the Phillies are in a major, full-out rebuilding mode. They want to unload as much high-salaried, veteran talent as possible, while adding on as much serious young talent as possible.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Philadelphia Phillies bullpen could still struggle greatly in 2023 season
- Philadelphia Phillies: Most impactful transactions in 2022
- How will Rob Thomson manage the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen in 2023?
- How Phillies’ Ranger Suárez is set to build on 2022 postseason dominance
- What can Philadelphia Phillies expect from Bryson Stott in 2023?
Moncada is a 19-year old middle infielder who, at least according to scouts, is the real deal. He profiles better than early winter Cuban rumor-fave Yasmany Tomas, who the Phillies were linked to as a front-runner. He profiles better than Rusney Castillo, the talented young Red Sox outfielder from Cuba.
He can hit for average, has power, has speed to burn, and can handle the middle of the infield. He is very likely a 2nd baseman at the MLB level, a place that the Phillies are going to have a very definite need to fill very soon.
Baseball America has said that if he were eligible for the 2015 MLB Draft, he would “be in the mix to be the number one overall pick” when June rolls around.
With his scouting reports, his Cuban Serie Nacional performances, his age, and with their obvious needs both positionally and in their overall direction and scheme, why would the Phillies not be a major player for Moncada?
The Phils lost out in bidding for Yasmany Tomas early in the off-season.
Well, it turns out now that they just may be in the mix after all. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, who himself is on the hot seat and could use a big haul such as this, was quoted on Thursday regarding Moncada: “We know him 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…”
There is risk in signing Moncada because of the MLB international signing budget cap. Inking him would put the Phils over that cap, meaning that they would suffer a financial penalty, as well as not be able to sign any similar players for two years.
So the bottom line for the Phillies, and most other teams that are interested in Moncada, is two-fold: is he worth the financial investment, and are there likely to be any similar players in those next two years?
The answers to both of those questions are unknown, so therein lies the risk. For a team in the Phillies position, with a player of the profile that Moncada possesses, this seems to be a risk worth taking. They have money. They need players with significant upside, especially at the 2nd base position.
I am taking a risk here, not financially for sure, but with reputation by saying that Amaro and the Phillies should be ultra-aggressive here. They should pull out all the stops, and go for it with Moncada. There will be other teams. The Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Cubs and more may bid. The Phillies would be well-served to outbid them, and land Yoan Moncada.