Why I'm Only Pretty Sure I'm Ticked They Let Moncada Go

Wow, my timing remains great: I write an ode to Frankie Cervelli one day before he's unexpectedly traded, then a brief supporting a Moncada signing one day before he becomes a Red Sock. Feel free to hit me up for stock or pony tips, because I'm clearly clairvoyant. Anyhow, I'm ticked they didn't get him, but it's very possible I'm wrong: (1) To start with, he seems worth it even if you're not a cockeyed optimist. Even if he's not at the level of a #1-2 overall draftee, and instead is only the 8th-15th best draftee, that's good for an expected 11.5 WAR in his six team-controlled years, and $60m is well-below-market for that. And if he's really a #1-2, his expected production is then easily double his pricetag, given that (as the same linked article shows) you can expect 24-28 WAR in the first six years of a #1-2 overall draftee.

(2) But the Yankees and all other teams declined to bid $70-80m after seeing him repeatedly, and we non-insiders saw him zero times. If he's at the level of a lower first-round draftee (#15-30), his expected six-year production is only 6.5 WAR, which might be worth $60m to the Yankees, but it's a close call. And it wouldn't take major, major holes in his game to make him a lower rather than higher first-rounder. Reports started saying he's more 2B than SS, which alone is a big difference. And we don't know what else they saw: maybe he's got a mildly slow first step in the infield, or maybe he's kind of a punk without the makeup to yield confidence he'll reach his potential. We don't really know -- but that's the point.

(3) Yet the early word-on-the-street tweet-reporting doesn't give me tons of confidence it's explanation #2 (that after a rational evaluation they decided he's a high but not elite talent) rather than #1 (that they blew it):

Marchand: Yanks feeling was they can buy a proven MLBer for $60M or $70M

Hoch: Cashman said there is no debate about Moncada's talent and ceiling, but bidding went farther than Yankees were willing to go.

Matthews: To be clear, it's obvious Cashman wanted Moncada but it seems like he couldn't get Hal to go any higher

I want to believe it's not "proven MLBer" (my post yesterday noted that $80-100m does not get you an MLBer better anywhere near as productive as a top draftee), nor an empty "farther than...willing" declaration. Frankly, they sound like the Royals explaining why they couldn't match $75m for James Shields but could spend $58m on the mediocrity grab-bag of Alex Rios, Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales, and Luke Hochevar. So I want to believe, but as with a lot of things in life, what I'm seeing all around me doesn't make it easy to believe what I want to believe.