Early Monday morning while everyone was stuck in Boston traffic and finishing their first cup of coffee, the Boston Red Sox were busy at work. As confirmed by multiple reports, the Red Sox have signed 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. Most agree that Moncada is a future superstar. He is a five tool player that could easily be the franchise piece the Sox have been longing for since quite possibly their trio of Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Moncada signed a deal that is reportedly worth $31.5 million. Many other teams, including the Dodgers, Yankees and Padres were extremely interested in acquiring the 19-year-olds services. The Yankees specifically brought Moncada in for at least 2 workouts and reportedly offered him $25 million. They were hoping Moncada could fill the void at shortstop left by future hall of famer, Derek Jeter. The future slugger has drawn very large comparisons, most notably as projecting as Robinson Cano. Although Moncada played shortstop in Cuba, it is thought that he will play either second base or third base for the Boston Red Sox. Moncada still has some adjustments to make and will likely start the season in the minors.
In the meantime, the Red Sox have positioned themselves nicely for the next 5 years. With an aging David Ortiz, it is now possible to see Boston post-Papi. Once the DH retires, it is plausible to assume that Pablo Sandoval could move into the DH role and Moncada could play third. Another, although somewhat unlikely, scenario is that Boston could move Xander Bogaerts to first base and let Moncada play his natural position. With Mike Napoli becoming a free agent after this season, that situation may play out if Bogaerts has a breakout year and Ortiz continues to not age.
In Boston, we highly value our prospects and for good reason. The Red Sox year in and year out have one of the best farm systems in baseball. With the addition of Moncada, it is hard to argue that they do not have the best pool of prospects in the MLB right now. According to Ben Badler, after the acquisition of Moncada, he became Boston's #1 overall prospect and baseball's #10 overall prospect. Not bad. Even though Moncada won't be with the Red Sox in 2015, he will still be able to help the team. The addition of Moncada gives the Red Sox the ability to trade some of their higher level prospects in order to go out and get that ace. Now people are still going to object about trading prospects such as Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and Henry Owens, but just hear me out for a minute.
The Red Sox have a ton of infield talent. Dustin Pedrioa isn't going to be moving on from Boston anytime soon, so that position will be filled for at least the next 5 years. The newly signed Pablo Sandoval does not look to be moving from third base after signing that $95 million deal either. With high level prospects such as Garin Cecchini and Deven Marrero on the cusp of being read to enter the big leagues, there just is not place for them in the Red Sox lineup. Great problem to have, huh? With all of this minor league talent and the Red Sox in a "win now" mentality, it seems that a trade for an ace is imminent. The Red Sox have one of the highest pay rolls in the majors and just allocated $200 million to Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.
Now, Cole Hamels, please enter the conversation. Hamels has already expressed his willingness to join Boston and the Red Sox seem to be interested in the left handed three time All-Star. While Hamels is 31 and plays in the National League, he would tremendously help an extremely mediocre Boston pitching staff. A trade for Hamels would be costly, but with Boston's current situation, it seems like the perfect fit. If the Red Sox offered a package of Mookie Betts, Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle, I think that would be enough to get a deal done. Conveniently, the Phillies's needs fit in exactly with what the Red Sox can offer. Philadelphia has significant holes in their infield, and a package of three potential every day infielders would be hard to turn down for the Phillies. I understand that Mookie Betts has the potential to be a great hitter. However, so does Moncada. It makes me hesitant to put my complete trust in Betts because he came out of the middle of nowhere. If someone is going to become a future superstar, more often than not you hear rumblings about it throughout the organization.
It hurts me to trade someone that has Mookie Betts's abilities, but if you can get away with not trading Blake Swihart and Henry Owens for one of the great left handed pitchers in the game, you may have to take the bait. If you are able to get Hamels, you immediately become one of the best teams in baseball.
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS