MLB Column: Should the Red Sox Have Used Moncada Money on Pitcher?

On Monday afternoon, the Red Sox added even more depth to their already strong infield.

The Sox signed 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, breaking the bank to do so. Boston had already exceeded its international signing pool, so the Moncada deal will be taxed 100 percent at signing. That means the young infielder will cost the Sox over $63 million upfront.

Is he worth it? Speaking in terms of his abilities, especially in terms of his hitting talent, yes. Moncada has been called the “next big thing” out of Cuba. The 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound switch hitter possesses enough talent, speed and strength to virtually play anywhere from shortstop to the outfield.

With that being said, is he what the Sox need this season? He certainly won’t hurt the team, but if the Sox were prepared to overspend, they should have used the money to strengthen the pitching rotation. With less than two months until Opening Day, it’s hard to tell who Boston’s ace will be this season. For whatever reason, the Sox refuse to pay big money for pitchers. They’ll pay an arm and a leg for an infielder they don’t necessarily need, but when it comes to pitching, they certainly give themselves a tight budget. Are the Red Sox cheap, or playing it smart?

Power hitting in the league can be rare, so Boston’s signings show fans that their main goal is to create a strong offense. One of the biggest deals the Sox offered to a pitcher was $135 million to Jon Lester. When this fell short, the Sox moved on and looked elsewhere. The Sox were quick to pass up on James Shields and Max Scherzer after both pitchers asked for more money. Now Boston’s pitching rotation isn’t terrible, it just doesn’t compare to other rotations around the league, as the Sox lack their star. Some may call this strategy cheap, or stupid but the success of Boston’s General Manager Ben Cherington’s plans shows in the number of rings displayed in Boston.

Up until Monday afternoon, Moncada had many options, including the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres and, of course, the Sox. New York passed up on the young infielder, as they weren’t willing to shell out the money. Boston’s bold move of going out of its way to grab Moncada almost seems like a boasting gesture directed at New York. Whatever the motive, Moncada will hopefully live up to expectations and be the next big thing out of Cuba and the next big thing in Boston.

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