19-year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada defected from his native Cuba over the summer and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball back in mid-November, but he is still waiting for official clearance from the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and won’t be able to start negotiating with teams until he gets that clearance.
It should happen pretty soon, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez is hearing Moncada could begin private workouts with clubs within the next two weeks.
Because of his age and lack of experience in a professional league, the much-hyped Moncada is subject to MLB’s international signing regulations — meaning the team that winds up landing him will likely have to pay big money in penalties to outbid the others. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote in early November that Moncada’s first contract could be worth $40 million guaranteed. Add in the penalties for going over the international spending cap and we could be talking about a total expenditure of nearly $80 million.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Giants, Rays, Padres, and Cubs were among the teams present at Moncada’s showcase earlier this winter in Guatemala.