Former Red Sox Top Prospect Yoan Moncada Signs Five-Year, $70 Million Extension With White Sox

Former Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada has reportedly signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension with the Chicago White Sox, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

The extension includes a $20 million club option for a sixth year, meaning the 24-year-old would not reach free agency until after his age-30 season.

Moncada enjoyed a great deal of success in a breakout 2019 campaign, slashing .315/.367/.548 with a career-best 25 home runs and 79 RBI over 132 games in his third season with Chicago.

The news of this extension comes on the same day that the Red Sox revealed that Chris Sale has a flexor tendon strain in his left elbow and will be shut down for at least the next week, which is pretty interesting when you consider that Moncada was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Sale to Boston a little more than three years ago.

We’re also coming up on the five-year anniversary of the Red Sox signing Moncada as an international free agent out of Cuba in March 2015 for a staggering $31.5 million.

Moncada quickly rose to become one of the top prospects in all of baseball while in the Red Sox organization, and after making his major-league debut and having a tough time of things during the final month of the 2016 season, he, along with prospects Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz, was traded for Sale that December.

Since that time, it was no surefire thing that Moncada was going to be a big league success with the White Sox. OPS+’s of 103 and 96 in 2017 and 2018 led many to believe that he was over-hyped, but the Cuban national took the first steps towards proving those doubters wrong in 2019.

We already talked about his improved slash line last year, but it is also worth mentioning how much Moncada cut down on his strikeouts. For instance, in 650 plate appearances in 2018, he struck out a league-leading 217 times, or 33.4% of the time he stepped up to the plate.

A year later, he dropped that strikeout rate by nearly six points, instead whiffing in 27.5% of his 559 plate appearances this past season.

Durability remains somewhat of an issue as well, but as he enters his age-25 season, Moncada could really just be coming into his own as a star in the American League Central, both offensively and defensively speaking.

You also have to give credit to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and the young core of talented players he has locked down on long-term, pre-arbitration extensions.

In addition to Moncada, outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert also signed lengthy contract extensions within the last calendar year. The three together are set to earn approximately $163 million over the next five to six years.

Add the lengths of all their contracts, a total of 17 years, and that’s less than $10 million in average annual value, if that makes any sense.

It hasn’t come with much team success to this point, but the White Sox do look like they could be legitimate contenders in the Central very soon.

Bringing this back to the Red Sox, it’s also probably worth mentioning that this Moncada extension could lay the groundwork for Boston to get one done with their own third baseman in Rafael Devers.

Coming into the 2020 season, the two infielders essentially have the same amount of service time, with Moncada having been in the majors 36 more days than Devers has to this point.

The two came through the Sox’ minor league system together and were both going to become arbitration eligible for the first time next year before Moncada signed his extension on Thursday.

I doubt the Red Sox would want to pay Devers more than the ≈ $800,000 he is owed this coming season, but if chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could find a way to work something out long-term and buy out any number of the 23-year-old’s potential free agent years after 2023, that would be quite promising.

Anyway, I would just like to close by saying that I have always been a big Yoan Moncada guy. I’m not going to get into who won or lost the 2016 trade between the Red Sox and White Sox, but I have enjoyed watching Moncada come into his own at the big-league level. Hoping for more improvement from him this season.

RECAP: #RedSox Winning Streak Comes to an End at Three in Rain-Filled 6-1 Loss to White Sox.

In the second of a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were looking to win their fourth straight game for the first time since August 12th on a rainy Friday night.

Making his 17th start of the season last night was Nathan Eovaldi, who entered the day with a 7.41 ERA over his last four starts and a 3.52 ERA in two career appearances (one start) at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Only able to pitch into the third inning of this one because of a lengthy weather delay, the right-hander’s struggles continued, as he got shelled for three earned runs on three hits and zero walks while recording six total outs.

Unable to strike out any of the 10 batters he faced on the night, the White Sox collected all three runs they scored off of Eovaldi in the bottom of the first. The first of which came on an Avisail Garcia RBI single, while the other two came off the bat of former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada on his 17th home run of the season.

After holding Chicago scoreless in the second, the Texas native came back out for his third inning of work with his team in a 3-0 hole, but in the middle of the first at bat, the rain really started to pour, and that is when Crew chief Ted Barrett decided it was time to bring out the tarp.

With the rain delay officially lasting more than two hours, Eovaldi’s, along with White Sox starter Michael Kopech’s night, would come to a rather quick conclusion.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (22 strikes), it was pretty obvious that the adjustments Eovaldi made with his landing foot, at the discretion of Pedro Martinez, these past few days did not come with the results he was necessarily looking for.

Out of those 35 pitches thrown, the 28-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 53% of the time he was on the mound Friday. He also topped out at 100.8 MPH with the same pitch in the first inning.

Although this particular outing was on the short side, let’s go ahead and take a look at how Eovaldi has been performing since he tossed eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on August 4th.

4 GS, 0-3, 8.05 ERA, 19 IP, 38 H, 24 R (17 ER), 3 BB, 12 K, 3 HR. Not great.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen would be turned to rather early once again on Friday night, and it was Drew Pomeranz who got the first call coming out of the rain delay.

Having only appeared in one game over the last week, the left-hander put in some solid relief work, as he scattered seven hits and six strikeouts over four scoreless frames. He also received some defensive help from the Red Sox outfield.

Next out of the ‘pen was Tyler Thornburg, who entered this contest with his team trailing by just three runs, but by the time he left, that deficit had increased to six after Matt Davidson launched a two out, three-run home run to left center field.

Thornburg was able to end the seventh inning, but that home run was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Boston.

Finally, just trying to keep his team within the five runs they were trailing by, Brandon Workman retired three of the four batters he faced in a scoreless eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another young right-hander for Chicago in the form of rookie Michael Kopech.

Kopech, a former Red Sox prospect who was part of the Chris Sale trade in 2016, received the call up to the majors on August 21st and is ranked as the top pitching prospect in the White Sox organization.

Making just his third career start on Friday, Kopech was up against his toughest opponent yet, and it showed early, as he hit the first batter he faced in Mookie Betts, then followed that up by walking Andrew Benintendi.

Thanks to some poor base running on Betts’ part though, the Texas native was able to get out of the first unharmed.

After working his way around a two out double from Ian Kinsler and a Sandy Leon HBP in the second, Kopech would be unable to resume his outing because of that two-hour rain delay.

For Kopech, out of the three starts he has made this season, two, both of which came at home, have been shortened due to weather.

Following the delay, Dylan Covey, who was part of the White Sox rotation the last time the Red Sox saw him, went out and pitched three scoreless innings of relief from the third until the middle of the sixth.

In fact, the only scoring Boston could manage in this one came in the eighth, when Andrew Benintendi mashed his 16th homer of the year off of Juan Minaya to make it a 6-1 game, which would go on to be the final score.

Some notes from this 6-1 loss:

From @RedSoxStats: Covey vs Red Sox this year 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

Covey vs everyone else 87 IP, 70 R, 41 BB, 60 K, 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

Xander Bogaerts received his first ejection last night, as he was tossed in the top of the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. Rick Porcello was also ejected.

Since moving to the bullpen, Drew Pomeranz owns a 2.93 ERA in his last 15.1 innings pitched.

Tyler Thornburg, on the other hand, has given up five earned runs in his last five innings pitched.

Finishing August with a 18-9 record, the Red Sox will look to get back on track and guarantee a series split later tonight, as Eduardo Rodriguez will make his long-awaited return to the rotation and make his 20th start of the season.

Before spraining his right ankle against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 14th, Rodriguez had not surrendered a run in his last 19 innings pitched. He has never appeared in a game at Guaranteed Rate Field, but does own a 3.75 ERA over two career starts against the White Sox.

Opposite Rodriguez will be another southpaw in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who made his first start of the 2018 season against Boston back on June 9th.

Since that time, Rodon as arguably been the White Sox’s best starter, as he has posted a 2.70 ERA and .178 BAA in 14 starts this year.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET, weather permitting.

Looking at How Former #RedSox Prospect Michael Kopech Got to Where He Is Today.

The Red Sox are currently in Chicago taking on a 53-81 rebuilding White Sox team.

Despite the poor record, the White Sox do have some players worth watching, including tonight’s starting pitcher, Michael Kopech.

A former Red Sox prospect himself, Kopech may be mostly known for being part of the trade that sent ace left-hander Chris Sale to Boston, but I thought I would highlight some moments from his young career that saw him make his big league debut just a few weeks ago.

Selected by the Red Sox with the 33rd overall pick in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Pleasant High School in Texas, Kopech forgoed his commitment to the University of Arizona and signed with Boston for a $1,500,000 bonus on June 17th.

Assigned to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox for his first professional season, the right-hander posted a 4.61 ERA and .216 BAA in eight starts and 13.2 innings pitched en route to a league title.

In 2015, Kopech made headlines for testing positive for Oxilofrine, a banned substance that violates the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Receiving a 50 game suspension because of the failed drug test on July 16th, the Texas native still posted a 2.65 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) over 65 innings pitched with the South Atlantic League’s Greenville Drive.

Less than a year later, Kopech’s name once again came up in the news, and not for positive reasons, as he got in an altercation with a teammate during spring training and ended up breaking his right hand.

Missing over four months of action because of the fractured throwing hand, the now 22-year-old made 12 starts between Low A Lowell and High A Salem while posting a 2.08 ERA to go along with 86 strikeouts in only 56.1 innings pitched.

That would end up being Kopech’s last season in the Red Sox organization, and he worked his way up to becoming the team’s best right-handed pitching prospect before he was traded on December 6th, 2016.

Along with top prospect Yoan Moncada, 24th ranked prospect Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz, Kopech was part of a blockbuster deal that ultimately landed the Red Sox the best left-hander in the game in Chris Sale from the White Sox.

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, not only was Kopech named the team’s best overall pitching prospect, he also made an appearance in the 2017 All-Star Futures Game in Miami, where he tossed a scoreless third inning.

On the 2017 campaign as a whole, the former first round pick posted a 2.88 ERA in 134.1 innings pitched between Double A Birmingham and Triple A Charlotte while being named the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher.

Entering this season as Chicago’s top pitching prospect once again, Kopech made 24 starts with the Charlotte Knights where he struck out 170 batters in 126.1 innings pitched before getting promoted to the White Sox.

Getting the call up on August 21st, the right-hander’s debut was shorter than expected due to a rain delay, but he struck out four Twins while scattering three hits over two scoreless innings of work.

Five days later, Kopech was back at it again, this time against the Detroit Tigers, where he pitched six innings of one-run ball to go along with another four punch outs and his first big league win.

And that is where things stand today.

Michael Kopech will be making his third career start Friday night, and it will come against the toughest opponent he has yet to face in the Boston Red Sox.

First pitch of tonight’s game is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.