At last check, Cuban super prospect Yoan Moncada was in the United States, but not yet cleared to sign with an MLB team. How the U.S.’s thawing relationship with Cuba, and the Cubs’ spending plans for the next IFA cycle, will affect things remains unclear. What we do know is that the Cubs’ are reportedly very interested in the 19-year-old, and they cannot sign him if he decides to sign before July (thanks to the penalties for blowing their IFA budget last year).
To that end, then, we can say a very small benchmark has been passed in the Cubs’ hopes of landing Moncada: the calendar flipped to 2015. Every week that goes by without Moncada being unblocked by the U.S. Government is a week that helps the Cubs’ chances of being a serious bidder. To be sure, the Cubs would have the ability to try and convince Moncada to wait until July to sign, even if he’s cleared much sooner, but it’s not hard to imagine why a 19-year-old coming from Cuba would not want to wait months and months before guaranteeing generational riches. If Moncada is cleared very soon, I’d think the chances that the Cubs are able to seriously bid will drop to almost nothing, because I just can’t see him agreeing to wait to sign for another six months.
No one seems to know how long the unblocking process will take, especially given how uniquely strange Moncada’s path has been (he was permitted to leave, rather than defecting), and given the timing of the U.S./Cuba news (will that speed things up? slow them down because of the flood of new work to that government office?). So, for now, we simply cross our fingers that unblocking takes at least another month or two.
In the meantime, there’s a new video of Moncada making the rounds, and, man, you don’t have to be a scout to see why everyone’s drooling over this young man (h/t Baseball America):