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.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.