Yoan Moncada, the teenage Cuban sensation, is now imminently close to being officially associated with Major League Baseball after reportedly agreeing to terms with the Boston Red Sox.  

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com first broke the news Monday, the details of which Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports supported. Sanchez wrote:

Cuban top infield prospect Yoan Moncada has agreed to a record-setting bonus with the Red Sox, according to an industry source.

The agreement is pending a physical. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $31.5 million — a figure that smashes the $8.27 million bonus record for an international amateur under the current signing guidelines, which was given to right-hander Yoan Lopez by the D-backs in January.

“Red sox will have to pay 100 percent tax on the $31.5M so their cost is $63M,” CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman added.

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported that the deal’s completion and confirmation are a few days away and that Moncada will likely start in Single-A.

Moncada is expected to report to Red Sox camp on Monday, per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

MLB officially declared Moncada a free agent on November 15. At 19 years old, Moncada has more youth on his side than recent Cuban imports such as Yoenis Cespedes (26 when he signed), Jose Abreu (26) and Yasiel Puig (21). He’s also slightly younger than Jorge Soler was when he signed with the Chicago Cubs (20). 

In other words, Moncada will likely need time to develop and should have a longer track record, if he reaches his full potential, than Cespedes or Abreu. 

Moncada was subject to the international bonus pool because he’s under the age of 23 with fewer than five years of experience in a professional league, as Passan noted in November. That’s why the money might not seem like it matches Moncada’s special talents. 

Sanchez went on to further explain the reported deal:

Because he is not yet 23 years old and did not play in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada is subject to MLB’s international signing guidelines, under which each team is allotted a $700,000 and an additional bonus pool based on the team’s record the previous year to be used during the international signing period. The current period started July 2 and ends on June 15.

According to those guidelines, clubs are penalized during the upcoming 2015-16 signing period if they exceed their bonus pools by certain amounts. The Red Sox had already exceeded their bonus pool before this signing and been given the maximum penalty. It’s a severe measure that includes a 100-percent tax on their pool overages and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. Including the penalty for exceeding their bonus pool, Moncada’s deal will cost the Red Sox approximately $60 million (bonus plus penalty).

The Red Sox have until July 15 to pay the overage tax and up to three years to pay out Moncada’s bonus.

Scouts have raved about Moncada for months. In August 2014, Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote that if the teenager were eligible for the 2015 draft, he would be in the mix for the No. 1 pick:

How good is Moncada? He has more upside than Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who just reached a $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox. He’s better than Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who’s in the Dominican Republic but is still likely several months away from free agency. If Moncada were eligible for the 2015 draft, he would be in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick. 

Several teams, including the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, were in the race to land Moncada. Joel Sherman of the New York Post shared details of the Yankees’ offer, which lost out to the Red Sox’s.

offered $25M with willingness to go to $27M which is same offered Jorge Soler who went to for $30M,” Sherman noted. He went on to compare Moncada’s reported deal to Alex Rodriguez’s remaining contract: “So with tax, will pay $63M to Moncada or about what owe A-Rod ($61M) for the next 3 yrs.” 

For the record, Yasmany Tomas signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the winter meetings. For Moncada to already be in that company at his age speaks volumes about his raw talent. Whether he is able to live up to those expectations remains to be seen, but he should have the necessary time and support system to develop.

Due to his hype, opponents will test Moncada on his journey to The Show, but there’s no reason to think the American stage will be too big for the young man. 

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