Brewers put in strong offer for Moncada
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers believe they were the first team to submit an offer to Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, but they knew within days that the 19-year-old would be signing elsewhere.
On Monday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Moncada had agreed to a record-smashing $31.5 million bonus from the Red Sox. In practice, signing Moncada will cost the Red Sox $63 million -- the bonus figure, plus a penalty for exceeding their international signing pool. Boston is also now barred from signing a pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.
It's believed that the Brewers' offer was in the $12 million to $15 million range. Like Boston, Milwaukee would have faced a 100 percent tax on that bonus because the Brewers had exceeded their bonus pool to sign Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara for $3.1 million last July. It shattered Milwaukee's previous record for an international signee.
After submitting their offer, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin asked Moncada's representative to respond within 72 hours. It was made clear by the end of that window, according to Melvin, that there wouldn't be a deal.
"We knew where he was financially," said manager Ron Roenicke, who was kept apprised of the Brewers' interest. "You know pretty quick where you are."
Is that frustrating for a manager of a team like the Brewers?
"It's just reality," Roenicke said. "I don't know if it's necessarily frustrating, but it's reality, and you know certain clubs can do different things. You just figure out where you are and what you can do, and you try the best you can to make it work."
The Brewers were high enough on Moncada, a switch-hitting second basemen, to send a significant number of club officials to Florida in January for a private workout. Among them 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 Brewers outfield instructor John Shelby.
According to Joel Sherman of MLB Network and the New York Post, the top bidders for Moncada were the Red Sox, Brewers and Yankees. The Yankees' offer was in the $25 million range. The Dodgers and Padres also showed significant interest.
The Brewers' interest represents a continued dabbling in Cuba and Japan, markets which Milwaukee had previously avoided. But they have been more active of late, starting with a surprise winning bid for Japanese outfielder Nori Aoki during the 2011-12 offseason. Last year, the Brewers made a six-year, $64 million offer to Jose Abreu. He ultimately received a $68 million commitment from the White Sox.