Monday, February 23, 2015

Moncada Makes More

As if the Red Sox roster wasn’t confusing enough, the Red Sox apparently got top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada today. And, things got a little bit more crowded.

Initially, I figured the fact that Moncada was only 19 mean he was a super-long range type thing. A replacement for Panda when his contract was up sort of long term. But, I’m hearing things like he’ll be in Boston in two years tops. Which is wonderful.

Because, the Sox already had no idea where to play Betts. What’s another player to jumble around?

Now, I get the idea of stockpiling prospects. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know what you’ll need. You never know who will pan out. (It’s that latter point that leads me to usually beg to trade prospects for proven talent any day of the week.) But, I understand it. You need players. With the size of the farm system, there’s plenty of space to save a player for a rainy day. Or the perfect deal. But, there’s one difference here.

Prospects are usually cheap.

Isn’t that the whole point? Draft well, and you get the players while they’re young and then let them walk or trade them when they start earning real money. Like they did with Ellsbury and Lester, and should have done with Pedroia. It makes sense to collect prospects. After all, if they don’t pan out, they don’t cost you much. So hoard them, and see what happens.

But, Moncada isn’t cheap. He’s costing over $60 million once you count fees and other bookkeeping that I don’t pretend to understand. What does that mean?

Again, I’m not worried about the money. I’ve always said that John Henry is allowed to waste as much of his money as he’d like. As long as it didn’t affect other areas. So, if he wants to pay Pedroa way more than he should, go right ahead. But don’t dare say we couldn’t sign Lester because of it. The same applies here. I doubt that the Sox didn’t get Lester or Scherzer because the Sox were saving money for Moncada. But, will this put a wrinkle in a Hamels deal? Or another ace? Does this tie the purse strings at all? I sure hope not.

Beyond the “throwing money away” aspect, does the amount they spent on him mean they expect Moncada to make a sooner impression? Are they going to spend $30/60 million on a guy to sit in the minors for four years? If they’re also on the 1-2 year max timeframe, the roster juggling gets a lot more interesting. Suddenly you now need to think about what happens with people. Does this now suggest Panda moves to first at some point after next season to clear a spot at third? Does this make Betts all the more expendable?

The collection of talent I get. Having talent is NEVER a bad thing. But, at some point it’s going to become cumbersome. If the Sox are expecting quick movement from him, and Betts, and Swihart…they’re going to need to start clearing some space for everyone sooner or later. Since the Sox could use an ace, I certainly hope it’s sooner.

I wonder what the plan is.

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