When we last checked in on Cuban uberprospect Yoan Moncada, the switch-hitting 19-year-old was waiting on his unblocking license from the U.S. Government before he’d be eligible to sign. And, although the Cubs are “in as deep” on Moncada as any other team, they cannot sign him if he decides to sign before July 2015.
Where do things stand as we head toward the end of the year? Well, there’s no word yet that Moncada has been unblocked, but there is a report that he’s here. As in, he’s already in the United States. That report comes from Kiley McDaniel, who says that Moncada is in Florida with his agent, but hasn’t yet been cleared by the U.S. Government to do business with a U.S. entity. Jesse Sanchez offers more on Moncada, who says private workouts could be the next step.
It’s unclear how long the unblocking license will take to receive, especially given Moncada’s peculiarly unique background. Unlike most Cuban stars, Moncada didn’t defect from the island nation in the way we’ve come to expect (and then pretend like it isn’t a completely sketchy – sometimes scary – thing). Instead, Moncada was allowed to leave Cuba last year, and headed to Guatemala, where he established residency and this process began.
For more on that strange journey, there’s a long read from Jorge Arangure at Vice on just how strange it has been. Hiring 24-hour protection, a CPA acting as an agent, and another agent possibly pregnant by, and possibly married to, Moncada. And a cameo by former pitching prospect Bobby Brownlie, presently working for Scott Boras, being escorted out of Moncada’s Guatemala showcase by armed guards.
You just shake your head that this is actually what surrounds the availability and subsequent pursuit of a teenager in whom we fans have so much interest as we sit at our computers or flick on our phones.
But, that’s the game, I suppose. We’ll keep following for updates on Moncada’s unblocking status, and whether there are signs that he can be convinced to wait on his big payday until after June.