After months of patiently waiting for the U.S. Government, and then Major League Baseball to remove the shackles, it appears that 19-year old Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada will be eligible to sign with any team he chooses over the next couple of weeks. According to a report from Joe Rodgers of The Sporting News, OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control), have given the green light to MLB and Moncada. MLB had previously stated that the use of OFAC’s “general license” that Cuban defectors had used to enter the United State to play ball was no longer going to be recognized.
Moncada’s agent released a statement through MLB.com after hearing the news that his client was now able to entertain offers from anyone in baseball:
"“I’m pleased that the Administration has relaxed the process for Cubans leaving their island to pursue a career in baseball in America,” David Hastings, per MLB.com"
Yoan Moncada has lived in Guatemala since last September, and after OFAC mailed each Cuban player desiring to come to the U.S. to play a letter, clearing them with permission, MLB was quick to sign off as well, and now the floodgates should open with dollars and cents for Cuban-born talent such as Moncada along with second baseman Hector Olivera, whom the Padres have been thought of as the favorite to land.
The young shortstop is believe by most, to be a franchise-changing talent, and with the lack of prospects in the system now that Trea Turner has been dealt, and a group of sub-par every day options on the big league roster, the Padres should do whatever it takes to secure his services. He hit 277/.388/.380 with four home runs and 21 steals in two seasons in Cuba professional baseball. It could be an uphill battle though, as teams such as the Yankees and Dodgers are heavily interested in the infielder as well.
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