MLB, not the federal government, is keeping Yoan Moncada from signing a deal

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Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada has been in purgatory for some time. He has permanent residence in Guatemala and has worked out for teams. Moreover, the OFAC — the government office which clears Cuban refugees for entry into and work in the United States — has given him the same sort of clearance that past Cuban players like Yasiel Puig and those before him received.

So why hasn’t he signed? Because, as Ben Badler of Baseball America Reports, Major League Baseball quietly ratcheted up the level of clearance that Cuban players need to sign with teams — demanding that they get a clearance the U.S. government doesn’t require but will, eventually, provide if asked — and that requires significantly more work.

It’s complicated, so go read Badler’s full story. And ask yourself if, based on history, it is particularly surprising why Major League Baseball may want to make it harder for teams to sign free agents.