There's a gurgling in the bowels of the offseason. Yoan Moncada, Cuban free agent who wasn't a free agent, is now a free agent. Teams can sign him now. Check out Kiley McDaniel on the Moncada timeline if you're confused, but this a big deal for February 3. It's a big deal for the Rangers and Cubs, who are prohibited from signing Moncada before July 2 because they went over the international spending limit over a year ago. It's a big deal for the Yankees and Cubs, who went over the last spending limit and wouldn't have been able to sign him if he didn't become a free agent until after June 15 this year. It's a big deal for the Giants because ...
Okay, this isn't a big deal for the Giants.
The Giants aren't going to sign him.
Moncada is either the next Ken Griffey, Jr. or Delmon Young, and the Giants aren't willing to spend at least $70 million to get him, with $35 million of that hypothetical figure coming in the form of a lump-sum penalty payment to a sketchy MLB trust. The nerve.
Of all the interested teams that would have $35 million in cash under the cushions, though, the Giants would seem to be an outstanding fit. So we continue to talk about him. Did you know he would be one of the top-five prospects in baseball immediately after signing? Did you know he's been playing in the Serie Nacional since he was 17? Did you see this freaking scout's grades?
When asked to grade out his tools based on this workout, in combination with previous reports, one scout gave the following grades:
Hit -- 60
Power -- 60
Speed -- 70
Arm -- 60
Field -- 50
Guh. That's basically Yasiel Puig playing second base, possibly without the bees in his pants. Hell, bring the bees, too. I think the bees are funny.
Interlude: The Giants aren't signing him.
But they could! It wasn't that long ago when Yoenis Cespedes was the brand new flavor in your ear. He was going to get a lot of money, even though he was an unknown, and it was the A's who gave it to him. For a team that doesn't like dropping hints to the rumormongers, it sure has been a while since the Giants have been the mystery team.
Pretend they do sign him, though. Pretend it's for a $30 million bonus, which means the Giants immediately have to fork over $29 million or so as the penalty for going over their spending cap. That loss of capital could make a difference at the trade deadline, and it could certainly hamper the roster-building for next year.
Pretend this is realistic. Now grade the Giants' offseason.
If you would give them an A, that's suggesting the right strategy was always to patch together a veteran team with players like Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Norichika Aoki, and then spend the World Series windfall on the farm, if possible. You're in this category because you believe the hype on Moncada, and the thought of a Bryce Harper-like talent is too tempting to pass up.
If the Giants get a B from you after this signing, that's because you believe a Bumgarner in the hand is worth two in the bush. As in, this is a team built to win now, and while Moncada might be the otter's parasol, there was a much better chance for Jon Lester or Pablo Sandoval to do things that would help the Giants break their months-long World Series drought.
A C is the same as the B, except there's more trepidation about giving that money to a prospect who might not even pan out.
A D is nearly maximum skepticism, and you're the sort of person who couldn't get past the Delmon Young reference up there. Prospects will crush your soul now and forever, and even though Moncada comes with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Scouting Approval, a $60 million whiff on him could set the Giants back years. Would it scare them away from the Cuban market indefinitely, similar to what happened with Osvaldo Fernandez? It's not worth the risk, and the offseason was filled with disappointing second-place finishes.
An F means you just woke up after a five-year military cryogenics experiment, and you're still filled with rage at Cody Ransom, Dustin Hermanson, and Wayne Franklin. Welcome back. You won't believe what's happened recently. Stop being so angry.
I'll go with a B+. You can't vote for a B+ because it's not an option and I'm special. But while I would have preferred the win-now cash dump on a player like Lester, it would be impossible not to be excited about an instant prospect injection. Prospection.
Of course ...
I wouldn't hold my breath on #sfgiants, Moncada. They're interested, but already publicly wary of bonus plus intl signing tax for player...— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) February 3, 2015
.... they'd have to develop for multiple years. I'll believe #sfgiants sincere interest when I'm invited to a press conference.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) February 3, 2015
LOOK, I KNOW. IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. FINE.
It's fun to dream, though. It's fun to dream, and I already used my best Marvin Benard picture today, so I was out of ideas.