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Source: Tigers 'not that serious' on Yoan Moncada

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Prized Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada is wrapping up his private workouts for major-league teams, and is said to be getting close to making his final decision.

Will he be signing with the Tigers?

According to one source very close to the situation, it doesn't appear likely. Asked to define the Tigers' current level of interest, as many teams make their final push, the source said, "in my opinion, not that serious."

The Tigers held a private workout for Moncada, 19, a shortstop, back in January, and came away very impressed.

Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president and general manager, told reporters earlier this month, "He's a good player, no doubt."

Dombrowski, though, refused to say more than that, as the Tigers have continued to be tied to the Moncada market. Dombrowski does not discuss the status of negotiations with free agents.

Detroit has a strong contingent of Cuban players, led by recently acquired Yoenis Cespedes and shortstop Jose Iglesias, but they've never signed one of the big Cuban free agents. They were hot on Cespedes three years ago but had to reverse course and sign Prince Fielder once Victor Martinez got hurt. They had interest in Yasiel Puig in 2012, but there apparently were serious concerns about his makeup.

When it's all said and done, Moncada will have worked out for at least 12 teams, and could land a deal in the $50-million range. He's represented by David Hastings, a CPA based in Florida.

The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers are believed to have substantial interest.

Given the money Moncada will cost, it's a big commitment for a major-league team, which, thanks to new regulations that appropriate pools of money for international signings. If you exceed the magic number, you're handcuffed on the international market for a couple years after.

Cuban star players are a hot commodity these days, given the success they've had transitioning into the major leagues, like Jose Abreu with the White Sox in 2014.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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