FORT MYERS, Fla. — Little did Rusney Castillo know when he signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox last August that he’d face questions months later about another high-profile Cuban player signing with Boston.
The Red Sox reportedly agreed to a contract Monday with Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada. Castillo isn’t too familiar with Moncada, but he is fully aware of the 19-year-old’s potential.
“I don’t really know him all that much,” Castillo said through a translator Monday at JetBlue Park. “I can’t think of a (comparable player) off the top of my head. But I know he’s a pretty complete player.
“Good person, from what I’ve heard. It’s always a positive thing to have more and more Cuban players in the league. It’s definitely something exciting.”
The Red Sox reportedly dished out $63 million — a $31.5 million contract plus a 100 percent tax to Major League Baseball — to lure Moncada to Boston. It’s a risky investment given that Moncada will turn only 20 in May and likely is at least one year away from the majors, but the switch-hitting infielder boasts star potential. Some even have compared Moncada to a young Robinson Cano.
Moncada projects as a second baseman, though third base and center field are two other possible destinations. The important thing is the Red Sox added yet another young, talented player to their organization. Moncada immediately becomes the top prospect in Boston’s system, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler.
“If it’s true — obviously I don’t know anything for sure — but if it is, it’s welcome, and I’m happy he’s here with us,” Castillo said.
Castillo once raced Moncada during an All-Star showcase. It was then that Castillo received a firsthand glimpse of one of Moncada’s five stellar tools, which he might soon see up close and personal more regularly.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BBTN