GLENDALE, Ariz. -- We could be nearing decision time with one or more Cuban players at one time or another recently linked to the Dodgers. While not mentioning Yoan Moncada or any of the others by name, team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made it clear the Dodgers would at least be part of the pursuit of said players.
"Adding depth to our system and having as many quality young players as we can is obviously a focal point," Friedman said on Thursday, the day pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch.
Moncada, the cream of the crop, the 19-year-old future superstar said to command a bonus possibly as high as $40-50 million, an amount that would be doubled as a penalty for exceeding allotted international bonus pools, said last week he wanted to make his decision by the end of February.
After reportedly holding a second secret workout with the Yankees on Wednesday - the Dodgers, among other teams, also got two looks at the infielder - per George King of the New York Post, Moncada is in the "contract phase" of his free agent process, agent David Hastings told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports on Thursday.
In addition to the Yankees, the Dodgers will reportedly need to fend off the Red Sox, Padres and Brewers for Moncada's services, per Heyman. In addition to the winning bidder facing a 100-percent overage tax on the signing bonus, inking Moncada will mean prohibition of signing any players to a bonus over $300,000 in the next two international signing periods, running from July 2, 2015 through June 15, 2017.
The Dodgers would face the same penalties if they signed amateurs Yadier Alvarez, Andy Ibanez and/or others during this international signing period.
Friedman did not seem fazed at the penalties.
"We are good at factoring in various costs, whether it's money, whether it's players you give up, whether it's sitting out two international periods, we factor it in to the cost of doing business," Friedman said. "If it reaches a point — with a collection of guys or with one guy — that it makes sense even with giving that up, then we'll obviously be aggressive to do it. If the cost on top of that becomes prohibitive, we won't do it."
Hector Olivera, not an amateur, is not subject to international bonus pools but is reportedly seeking a lucrative five- or six-year deal, which would be subject to the competitive balance tax, 40 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in subsequent years.
Friedman also took issue that the Dodgers farm system - currently ranked anywhere from third in baseball (by Baseball Prospectus) to 10th (by ESPN) - would be hurt by being unable to sign international amateurs to large bonuses.
"That assumes that if you are restricted to signing guys for $300,000 or less you are significantly worse. That's an assumption you'd have to make, and I'm not positive that's the case."