Pedro Leon Reportedly Signing with Houston Astros

Pedro Leonhas an astronomical deal in the works…

The 21-year-old Cuban outfielder, who dominated Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2018 before defecting, is expected to sign with the Houston Astros for around $4 million when a new international signing period opens July 2, according to ESPN.

Pedro Leon

Leon would be one of the class’s highest-paid players.

Leon mostly played corner outfield in Cuba and has hit for power in games, but is reputed to have above-average speed, a plus arm and plus raw power as a right-handed hitter. While a roster at his workout on Wednesday listed him at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, one scout estimated Leon to be 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds.

Pedro Leon

Scouts didn’t get to see Leon’s reputed power on display during the workout at the San Francisco Giants‘ academy in the Dominican Republic as they were told he’d already reached a deal with a team.

Leon was cleared as a free agent in December, but delayed his open workout due to an oblique injury. Scouts say he previously has dealt with a shoulder injury as well.

Cuban prospects have to wait to negotiate with clubs until after their first open workout for all 30 teams, or after they are cleared to be a free agent. 

Sources said Leon worked out privately for the Astros at their facility recently and the club was able to collect valuable data using advanced technology like bat sensors and radar-based technology like TrackManthat other clubs weren’t able to collect on Wednesday.

Moncada to Become an Official Member of the Boston Red Sox Organization

Yoan Moncada is seeing red…

The 19-year-old switch-hitting Cuban infielder will officially become a member of the Boston Red Sox organization by Friday, according to his representative.

Yoan Moncada

Moncada must pass two days of physicals: one day at the team’s training facility in Florida, followed by a day in Boston, David Hastings told ESPN.

Hastings, a Florida-based certified public accountant who represented Moncada in his negotiations, said Moncada is scheduled to undergo the first phase of his physical on Wednesday morning, and will then fly to Boston either later Wednesday or early Thursday.

Hastings said a term sheet stipulating that the player had agreed to a $31.5 million signing bonus with the Red Sox has been signed, making the physical the last order of business. Moncada will not be reporting to the team’s major league camp but will instead report with the team’s other minor leaguers on March 2.

“The timing didn’t fit the major leagues,” Hastings said. “Right off the bat, Yoan is 19 years old and he hasn’t participated in baseball since December of 2013.”

The Red Sox’s overall financial commitment will be double that — around $63 million. That’s $31.5 million as a signing bonus directly to Moncada and $31.5 million to Major League Baseball as a 100 percent overage tax for exceeding their allotment of international bonus money.

The Red Sox, who in August signed Cuban center fielder Rusney Castillo to a six-year, $72.5 million deal, had long been considered one of the favorites to sign Moncada. The New York Yankees also targeted Moncada and reportedly conducted multiple private workouts for him, including one late last week.

The Yankees, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers were the other three finalists for Moncada, according to Hastings. He said because all of the offers were structured differently, he was unwilling to characterize how much more money the Sox offered.

“From the get-go, Boston was there to offer any assistance, any advice,” Hastings said. “Whether they were the eventual winner or not, they were concerned with Yoan as an individual as much as a potential superstar. Mentoring was a part of their commitment.”

The Red Sox held a private workout for Moncada about two weeks ago. Among those in attendance was Red Sox Hall of Famer and Cuba native Luis Tiant.

“Tiant is a great ambassador for Boston,” said Hastings, adding that Tiant and Moncada shared breakfast before the workout.

In addition to Moncada, the Red Sox also signed another Cuban player, outfielder Carlos Mesa. The 27-year-old will accompany Moncada to his eventual minor league destination.

Mesa played three years in the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ system, never advancing beyond A ball before being released. Last season, he played for New Jersey in the independent CanAm League.

Mesa will be living with Moncada and serving as a mentor, Hastings said.

“He would have gone with Yoan even if the Red Sox had not signed him,” Hastings said Monday night. “Carlos will help Yoan with his transition. He speaks English as well as Spanish.”

As did most teams, the Red Sox worked out Moncada at third base, shortstop and second base, Hastings said. They also hit him some fly balls in the outfield. It remains to be seen where the Red Sox will play him.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Moncada batted .277 in two seasons with Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional before leaving the country last year with the permission of the Cuban government. He held a workout for a reported 70 to 100 MLB talent evaluators in Guatemala in November.

Moncada officially hit the open market last week when MLB eliminated its requirement that Cuban players obtain a license from the U.S. government before becoming eligible to sign with big league teams.