According to Jeff Passan, the Cubs are one of four teams along with the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers that are seen as the favorites to sign INF Yoan Moncada. But the problem is the Cubs cannot sign Moncada until July 2 while the other three teams are not restricted during the current International signing period.
Jeff Passan reported Tuesday Moncada “no longer needs a specific unblocking license to play baseball in the United States. Recent changes by the Obama administration allow native Cubans who can prove permanent residence in a third country to receive a general unblocking license and avoid the sometimes arduous application process for an Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) specific license.” An OFAC license was “previously needed to do business in the U.S.”
Moncada established residence in Guatemala in August and has the necessary paperwork to prove residency in a third country (permanent residency document, a Guatemalan National ID card, statement from a Guatemala-based bank).
Passan explained “any person who meets the requirements for a general unblocking license no longer will be issued a specific unblocking license.” Major League Baseball will have to verify residence now and give clearance to teams interested in signing him permission to move forward with the process.
According to Passan’s report, Major League Baseball “was drafting a letter to OFAC on Tuesday asking for a meeting in the near future to clarify the new regulations and potentially change league policy, which requires a specific unblocking license.”
If a meeting between MLB and OFAC takes place soon, Yoan Moncada could be eligible to sign with a team within two weeks.
According to multiple reports, Moncada has held private workouts for the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, Brewers, Rangers, Giants and Padres. Moncada was expected to work out for the Cubs last weekend, but it is unknown if the work out took place.
A statement from Major League Baseball to Yahoo Sports: “MLB has important questions regarding how the new regulations apply to the unique circumstances of Cuban players based on our significant experience in this area, and our discussions with OFAC in prior years. MLB is committed to following the laws of the United States, and will not change its policy requiring Cuban Players receive a specific OFAC unblocking license until it confirms with all relevant branches of our government, including OFAC, that any new approach is consistent with the law. We hope to have clarity on this issue as quickly as possible.”
Jeff Passan ended his report by saying his sources indicate Yoan Moncada is “open to waiting until July 2 for one of the teams not allowed to sign him until then.”
The Red Sox and Yankees are over their International signing bonus pool for the current signing period (July 2, 2014 – June 15, 2015) and will be restricted for the next two signing periods. Even if Moncada waits until July 2, the Dodgers will still be in the mix because they have not exceeded their bonus pool.
What was a complicated matter just became more so as Ben Badler pointed out in his report. Major League Baseball has been allowing the government to clear the players and provide the unblocking license in order to “limit its own liability in the event that a player uses false residency papers.” But as it stands now, it is unclear how MLB would handle it if a team signed Yoan Moncada before the league gave teams permission to do so.
Santurce beat Mayaguez on Tuesday by a final of 5-3 and in the process became champions of the winter league. Javier Baez started at second base, hit seventh and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Baez went 3-for-14 in the last three games of the series with two strikeouts.
Javier Baez grounded out to second in his first at bat of the night (second inning) and grounded out to third base leading off the fifth inning. Baez flied out to left in the sixth and Anthony Garcia was thrown out at home to end the inning. And in the eighth inning, Baez struck out swinging.
The Cubs have not released the list of players that will be in camp this spring on non-roster invitations. When the first Spring Training roster of the year is posted, it will include Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Corey Black and Armando Rivero. Based on the front office’s history and comments made at the convention, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora should be on the list as well.
Remember players on the 40-man roster automatically are in big league camp and players that do not make the active roster (25-man) out of Spring Training are optioned to minor league camp.
The Cubs Spring Training Roster should include INF/OF Logan Watkins, RHP Donn Roach, RHP Daniel Bard, INF Jonathan Herrera, OF Adron Chambers, LHP Francisley Bueno, C Taylor Teagarden, RHP Jorge De Leon and INF/OF Chris Valaika.
Wrigley Field Permits
Permit One – Wrigley Field bleacher sign structure and enclosure for two LED video boards and signs on the video boards, field wall LED ribbon boards and two elevators – Est. Cost – $5,000,000.00
Permit Two – Wrigley Field right and left field bleacher expansion: architectural, mechanical and electrical build out – Est. Cost – $6,000,000.00
News, Notes and Rumors
Ken Rosenthal examined deals signed by starting pitchers 33 years or older on the first season of the contract. History shows James Shields could be a huge risk for any team. It is highly doubtful Shields will receive five years and $100 million according to Rosenthal. A four-year contract for less than $20 million per year might be a more realistic contract.
Jesse Rogers answered a few questions on Twitter.
Scott Boras would like to see baseball have a World Series week and for the Fall Classic to be played in one city at a neutral location according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
Richard Justice proclaimed the Padres as the winners of the off-season. Justice also thinks the Cubs got better and “there’s certainly not going to be a team with more potential to do great things over the next three years.”
Five minor leaguers were suspended for 50 games for failing drug tests, four were for drugs of abuse and the other was amphetamines. Theo Alexander (Dodgers), Robert Carson (Dodgers), Chad James (free agent), Kyle Simon (free agent) and Kramer Champlin (free agent).
And, last but not least, Barry Bloom tweeted photos of the rehabbed HoHoKam Park and it looks a lot different from the last time the Cubs played there in 2013. The Cubs will be the visiting team at HoHoKam for the first time and only time this spring on March 24.
This Day In Cubstory
2009 – Cubs traded Ronny Cedeno and Garret Olson to the Mariners for Aaron Heilman
1987 – Jose Ceda, born
1986 – Brandon Guyer, born
1985 – Wesley Wright, born
1982 – Cubs signed free agent Larry Cox
1968 – Kiki Cuyler was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Cuyler played for the Cubs from 1928-35. Cuyler batted .325/.391/.485 in 949 games with the Cubs over eight seasons with 220 doubles, 66 triples, 79 home runs and a .876 OPS.
1967 – Cubs selected Alec Distaso in the first round, first overall pick, of January’s Draft. Distaso signed with the Cubs on Feb. 7, 1967.
1967 – Cubs selected Gary Ross in the first round, seventh overall pick, of January’s Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Jim Dunegan in the second round of January’s Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Earl Stephenson in the third round of January’s Draft
1967 – Cubs selected Pat Jacquez in the fourth round of January’s Draft. Jacquez signed on Feb. 1, 1967.
1916 – Bob Muncrief, born