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Yoan Moncada expected to sign Monday, Red Sox among favorites

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Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada could sign with his new team before the day is over, with the Red Sox one of three favorites to land his services.

Yoan Moncada is expecting to choose his home in Major League Baseball before the day is out according to NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, citing the Cuban infielder's agent David Hastings.

So where does the race for Moncada's services stand as it enters the final stretch? Jon Heyman says that the Red Sox, Yankees, and Padres are the favorites, with the Dodgers having fallen back with the rest of the pack in recent days. The New York Post reports that both the Yankees and Red Sox have sent Cuban ambassadors to talk to Moncada, with the Red Sox fielding Luis Tiant against El Duque from New York.

Interestingly, that same New York Post article throws a strange wrench into the puzzle, suggesting that Moncada might demand that any team that signs him bring 27-year-old Carlos Mesa along with him. A quick look at Mesa's B-Ref page makes it apparent that there's little on-field profit to be made there, but if Mesa isn't expecting to do more than fill a minor league roster spot (if that), there's little reason to object to that.

Frankly, it's slightly surprising to see the Red Sox keeping pace with teams like the Yankees and Padres on Moncada. Even in two or three years when Moncada is ready to make the jump, the Red Sox could struggle to find a place on their roster for the infielder given their long-term commitments to Pablo Sandoval and Dustin Pedroia. They also have no great need to boost an already impressive farm system with talent as expensive as Moncada. Bids are already over $20 million according to Heyman, with early projections expecting the final price tag to run twice that amount. Throw in a 100% tax from the league on such a large contract to a "July 2" player, and Moncada could run the Red Sox as much as Sandoval will over the next five years.

At the moment, with reports that the Yankees have had Moncada in for three of the least secret "secret workouts" of all time, it's hard not to see Boston's arch-rivals as leading the pack. Still, with perhaps less than 16 hours left before his decision, there's little point to speculation. We'll know soon enough where Moncada lands.