Yoan Moncada

UPDATE (Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. PT): According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Don Mattingly attended Yoan Moncada’s private workout for the team:

Sanchez also provided an update on the teams Moncada has worked out for in January:

As for what’s delaying Moncada signing with a team, Ben Badler of Baseball America explains it’s due to a change in MLB regulations, not pending clearance from OFAC:

Moncada, though, has already met the government’s requirements to be able to begin his career. Moncada has permanent residence in Guatemala. Any Cuban national who presents documents showing permanent residence in a country outside of Cuba qualifies for OFAC’s “general license,” which is not a written document. As far as OFAC is concerned, that should make him unblocked, and that’s good enough for the government to allow him to sign.

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC.

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While the Los Angeles Dodgers to this point haven’t signed what many would consider a big fish, the opportunity to flex their financial muscle remains on the table. While it may not be a likely signing, James Shields is still available, so too is Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada.

The market for Moncada includes the Boston Red Sox, Dodgers, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, among others. As was expected with a first report coming nearly two weeks ago, Moncada reportedly worked out for the Dodgers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:

In a Jan. 14 interview with MLB Network Radio, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said the team had scouted Moncada and that they have the ‘checkbook’ to acquire him. He also mentioned the value of having ‘young, elite talent’ — a description Moncada certainly fits.

Although Moncada has reportedly completed multiple workouts, he’s unable to sign with a team as he’s yet to be cleared by the OFAC. Moncada is a switch hitter with some power and is capable of playing second base, shortstop or third base.

In order to sign the 19 year old, teams would need to have available funds in their respective pools of international money. Once cleared, Moncada could be at the center of a bidding war that comes with at least an $8 million signing bonus.

Right-hander Yoan Lopez, who the Dodgers were also reportedly interested in, received an $8.27 million signing bonus from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Roberto Baldoquin, another Cuban infielder, was given an $8 million signing bonus by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

If the Dodgers are able to sign Moncada, it would give them another young infielder with promise capable of playing the left side. The timing also couldn’t be better as both Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe are in the final year of their contracts.

Moncada also conceivably could be an answer at second base if the Dodgers are unable or opt not to re-sign Howie Kendrick, who will also become a free agent after the 2015 season.

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

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