Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is another step closer to signing with an MLB team

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While MLB still needs to give their approval, it appears that Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is one step closer to finally signing with a team. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has the story:

David Hastings, the agent for Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, received a notification from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday night stating that his player may be generally licensed as an unblocked national, according to new guidelines for a general license amended Jan. 16, 2015.

This should seemingly clear the way for Moncada to sign with the Major League club of his choice.

The letter, acquired by MLB.com, is in response to Moncada’s request to be specifically licensed as an unblocked national, pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) in a letter sent to OFAC on Sept. 25, 2014.

Section 515.505(a)(2) of the CACR unblocks “any individual national of Cuba who has taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba, provided certain required documentation is obtained and the individual is not a prohibited Cuban Government official or prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.”

Other Cuban players like Yasiel Puig have previously signed with a general license from OFAC. However, MLB has recently requested a specific unblocking license from OFAC. And that process can take months. That’s why Moncada — who has taken up permanent residence in Guatemala — and other Cuban defectors remain in limbo. However, these new regulations from the government make the extra hurdle from MLB moot, which is basically what the above letter states. MLB is expected to meet with OFAC soon to clarify the situation, so a resolution appears to be imminent.

Moncada is expected to land a deal in the range of $30-40 million and has drawn interest from the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and others. The 19-year-old is considered an amateur, so he’s subject to MLB’s international bonus pools. Teams are penalized for going exceeding their specific bonus pool amounts, so the total outlay for signing Moncada could be in the $60-80 million range. Whoever signs him would also not be allowed to sign a pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. However, Moncada is talented enough for several teams to be willing to take the hit.

Matt Shoemaker out for the season with a torn ACL

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Terrible news for Blue Jays pitcher Matt Shoemaker: the MRI he had on his knee revealed a torn ACL. He’ll need surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

Shoemaker was in the process of holding the A’s scoreless through three innings of three-hit, one-strikeout ball in his start on Saturday. He twisted his leg awkwardly when he ran over and tagged Matt Chapman between first and second base, however, and it was immediately clear that things weren’t right. He was initially diagnosed with a sprain, but the MRI showed that it was worse.

This is a tough break for Shoemaker, who had started off the season pretty fantastically, posting a 1.57 ERA over his first five starts this year.