Brewers keeping tabs on Cuban infielder Moncada
Milwaukee has shown interest, but market for 19-year-old quite crowded
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers had enough interest in 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to send a slew of scouts and front-office officials to Florida last month for a private workout, but now that Moncada is clear to sign in the Majors, the consensus at Miller Park is that he is likely to land in one of baseball's bigger markets.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays and Tigers also hosted Moncada for private workouts, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Among the Brewers officials on hand for a private workout in Tampa were pro scouting director Zack Minasian, amateur scouting director Doug Reynolds, special assistant Craig Counsell, senior director of baseball operations Tom Flanagan, pro scout Cory Melvin and outfield instructor John Shelby.
Asked what was in the resulting reports, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, "I think they were pretty well what you've been reading. He's got talent. Switch-hitter.
"But you see the other teams that are involved. Again, when you're in negotiations, you don't want to tip your hand."
Melvin declined to say whether the Brewers would submit a formal offer to Moncada's agent, David Hastings.
"I don't want to say, because we haven't had that kind of discussion with ownership yet," Melvin said.
Moncada plays second base, shortstop and third base. He starred for Cuba's top team of 15- and 16-year-olds before joining the Cienfuegos club in Cuba's national league at age 17, playing alongside White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Dodgers infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena.
On Tuesday, Moncada was declared free to sign after Major League Baseball met with the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for clarification regarding new guidelines for a general license for an unblocked Cuban national.
"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 said in Spanish to MLB.com in his first interview since arriving in the United States in late November. "I know I'm going to do the best I can for as long as I can in this sport."
The Brewers' interest in Moncada represents a continued dabbling in Cuba and Japan, markets from which Milwaukee has previously stayed away. The Brewers made a six-year, $64 million offer to Abreu, but they exited the process wondering whether it was used merely as a bargaining chip for Abreu on the way to a $68 million deal with the White Sox. Before that, the Brewers made a surprise bid for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, who played two seasons in Milwaukee before a trade to Kansas City.