Padres Rumors: Yoan Moncada Works Out For Padres
By Billy Brost
To add more intrigue to the “Winter of Preller”, Cuban defector Yoan Moncada has held several private workouts with teams, including the San Diego Padres according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Could the GM and the organization be ready to make one final splash before pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Arizona in a few weeks? For the most part, the Padres and the rumor mill have centered on Philadelphia Phillies ace and San Diego native, Cole Hamels, along with free agent hurler James Shields.
Moncada, 19, could be the perfect piece to the Padres’ off-season puzzle. A.J. Preller has overhauled most of the starting lineup, with three new outfielders, a new catcher, third baseman, and technically a shortstop, since Everth Cabrera was let go. The switch-hitting shortstop per Sanchez, is “…the most celebrated young prospect to leave Cuba since Jorge Soler.” That’s saying something.
We now know that Padres’ CEO Mike Dee, along with Preller and his front office, aren’t afraid to make a deal, and the possible signing of Moncada could cap off what has been a winter for the ages for the Finest City in America. Since Moncada has played less than five professional seasons, he is subject to international signing rules. Teams such as the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Rays, and Angels have all expressed interest in signing the switch-hitting infielder.
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Unlike the Yankees and Red Sox, the Padres aren’t anywhere near the international spending pool threshold. Both New York and Boston if they sign Moncada, will be subject to paying almost a dollar-for-dollar penalty that matches the contract signed by the player. The Padres have been sitting on their international pool money, which was originally targeted for outfielder Yasmany Tomas, before he signed his contract with Arizona.
The plan, if this is what the Padres have had in mind the entire time, now makes perfect sense. One of the glaring needs for this team is a franchise shortstop. With the loss of Everth Cabrera, the Padres head into 2015 with Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista keeping the seat warm for the possible arrival of Moncada sooner rather than later. It also explains why the team didn’t push harder for Stephen Drew, or Jed Lowrie domestically, or Jung Ho Kang or Takashi Toritani internationally. If Yoan Moncada ends up as the final splash in what’s been the most historic off-season for the Padres, then give Preller and Dee more credit, for they truly do want to win now, and in the future.