As you know, the Chicago Cubs’ only hope of signing Cuban superprospect Yoan Moncada is if he waits to sign (or is not cleared by the U.S. Government to sign) until after June (thanks to the team’s currently-imposed $250,000 per-player spending limit penalty).
Relatedly, if Moncada does wait to sign until after June, two very notable bidders will be out of the market: the Yankees and Red Sox. Why? Well, like the Cubs, but a year later, they’ve overspent their IFA pool such that they’ve received the harshest penalty. If Moncada doesn’t sign in this period, the one in which New York and Boston have overspent, and which ends in June, the Yankees and Red Sox could offer him only $300,000. He’s expected to command 100 to 200 times that amount.
So, against that backdrop, I can pass along two Moncada update tweets. The first one is good, although fairly minor, because there’s still a long way to go until June:
Multiple sources tell me Yoan Moncada is still waiting on OFAC clearance. Private workouts expected this month. #Cuba
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 9, 2015
So, no clearance yet. But, then again, even though folks can’t predict when the clearance will come with 100% reliability, the fact that Moncada is ready to start doing private workouts suggests his camp thinks it’s coming fairly soon. No sense in working out for teams if you don’t think you’ll be actually cleared to sign with them for another three or four months.
And now the less good update:
Yes. NYY & BOS are the heavy favorites. RT @NorbertoPaulino Have you heard anything on if the Red Sox are indeed in on Moncada?
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) January 8, 2015
Being that those two teams have already overspent in this IFA period, and being that they are also large market teams with tons of cash, I’d call them the heavy favorites, too.
Still, the Cubs have been rumored to be involved, and we don’t yet know for sure how this will shake out. It remains plausible (if unlikely) that Moncada could be cleared to sign this month, and still is enticed by a significant offer from the Cubs to wait until July 2 to sign. If Moncada were cleared today, you have to wonder how much higher the Cubs would have to go beyond what the Red Sox and Yankees (and any other team) were offering today in order to get him to wait another six months to sign. 10%? 20%? 50%?
Suffice it to say, the Cubs would have to pay a really healthy premium, and I’m not sure it’s realistic when the Red Sox and Yankees could be offering $40 million (which comes with a penalty tax of another $40 million, meaning the total commitment is $80 million).
So, we wait. The longer the clearance takes, the better the Cubs’ chances of being able to offer a realistic over-the-top deal to entice Moncada to wait to sign. The odds remain very long, when you consider all of the above … and the fact that there are 27 other teams in baseball, too.