The Boston Red Sox owe Luis Tiant something nice.
Tiant told ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes that Ray Negron, a special consultant to the New York Yankees who’s also friends with the former Red Sox hurler, called him Sunday night to notify him of Moncada’s intentions.
“Ray said, ‘He’s going to sign with you guys because of you,’ ” Tiant told Edes. “I guess they talked to the kid.”
The Red Sox, Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers were the three finalists for Moncada before the 19-year-old agreed to a deal with Boston, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. The Red Sox reportedly gave Moncada a $31.5 million signing bonus — the total cost will be $63 million based on the 100 percent tax Boston must pay — but the Los Angeles Dodgers were willing to pay $35 million if the switch-hitting infielder waited until July 2 to sign, according to Sherman.
It’s unclear at this point what ultimately drew Moncada to Boston, aside from more than $30 million, but having a Cuban representative like Tiant certainly didn’t hurt.
“Luis Tiant is a great ambassador for the Red Sox,” Moncada’s agent, David Hastings, told Edes on Monday. “I don’t speak Spanish, so I don’t have a clue what they were talking about, but they struck up a pretty good friendship. And Luis stayed in the dugout almost the whole time (during Moncada’s workout with the Red Sox), even though it was a cold and windy day.”
Tiant had breakfast with Moncada a couple of weeks ago when the prospect was at JetBlue Park for a workout, according to Hastings. The two clearly hit it off, and Tiant now expects big things from Moncada, who immediately becomes the Red Sox’s top prospect.
“To me, he looked like an intelligent kid, a good kid,” Tiant told Edes. “He wants to play. He’s a ballplayer. We talked, we took pictures, with him and his agent. Tall, good-looking kid. He looks like a good person.”
Moncada has the look. Now he’ll reportedly show it off in a Red Sox uniform, thanks to El Tiante.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@ForTheWin