Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, born over 15 years after Luis Tiant made his final appearance for the Boston Red Sox, finalized a monster deal with the team on Monday, and the Red Sox apparently have Tiant to thank for helping sway the 19-year-old infielder to sign with them and not with the New York Yankees.
Here's the story from ESPN.com's Gordon Edes:
Luis Tiant, the Red Sox Hall of Famer and Cuban legend, said he found out countryman Yoan Moncada was signing with the Red Sox on Sunday night, when he received a call from Ray Negron, his friend and special consultant to the Yankees, another team that went hard after the 19-year-old infielder.
"Ray said, ‘He’s going to sign with you guys because of you,'" Tiant said. “I guess they talked to the kid."
When Moncada was at JetBlue Park for a private workout a couple of weeks ago, the Red Sox made sure Tiant was there. Tiant had breakfast with Moncada, said David Hastings, a Florida-based certified public accountant who handled negotiations for the player.
"Luis Tiant is a great ambassador for the Red Sox," Hastings said Monday. "I don't speak Spanish, so I don't have a clue what they were talking about, but they struck up a pretty good friendship. And Luis stayed in the dugout almost the whole time, even though it was a cold and windy day."
Tiant, 74, pitched for Boston in eight of his 19 years in the majors, going to two All-Star games and helping the Red Sox win the AL pennant in 1975.
If Moncada is as good as the scouts say he is, a switch-hitting five-tool talent who can play second or third base, Tiant can say he helped the Red Sox win long after throwing his final pitch for the franchise.
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