Two Top Cuban Prospects Reportedly Ineligible to Sign Until July - Looming Dodgers Threat

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Two Top Cuban Prospects Reportedly Ineligible to Sign Until July – Looming Dodgers Threat

Chicago Cubs

cuba featureSo, the Chicago Cubs couldn’t and didn’t convince top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada to wait until July 2 to sign with them. That date, of course, is significant to the Cubs, who are restricted from signing any international prospects for more than $250,000 until then.

Interestingly, though, there are two other notable Cuban prospects who face the same restricted timeline as the Cubs.

Ben Badler writes that Cuban righties Yadier Alvares, 18, and Vladimir Gutierrez, 19, are subject to a registration requirement which will preclude them from being eligible to sign with an MLB team until the next IFA period opens on July 2.

Gutierrez is coming off winning Rookie of the Year honors in Cuba’s highest professional league, and Badler suggests he would have been considered one of the top 10 prospects in Cuba had he not left.

Although Alvares doesn’t have the same track record as Gutierrez, he’s actually been the subject of a great deal more hype in recent weeks after wowing scouts with a 97 mph fastball, and his impressive frame.

Until Badler’s report, it looked like Alvares and Gutierrez could be eligible to sign before the end of the current IFA period, which means the Cubs likely wouldn’t have a shot at them. For that reasons, we haven’t seen the Cubs mentioned as a possibility for the two pitchers. If Badler’s right, though, you can bet that’s going to change.

When it comes to guys like Gutierrez and Alvares – and any other big money IFA prospects that pop up over the next year (the Dominican/Venezuelan prospects are all generally known, so we’re mostly talking about Cuban defectors) – Jeff Passan already thinks he knows the teams that will be operating at the top of the market:

I certainly don’t think it’s at all a stretch to suggest that the Cubs will be particularly aggressive for guys like Gutierrez and Alvares, assuming they like them, given that the Cubs are reportedly already set to blow their 2015/16 IFA budget. At that point, then, you’ve already incurred the future restriction penalty*, and you might as well keep going hog wild.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the Cubs could be facing stiff competition from the Dodgers, and not just for those extra Cuban players:

How into the 2015/16 class are the Dodgers? Well, look at this:

That strongly suggests that the Dodgers didn’t want to give up the 2015/16 class (and the next year) in order to get Moncada.

All of this has me wondering about a guy like Andy Ibanez, by the way. The infield prospect – firmly behind Moncada, but still very well-liked – is free to sign with any team right now. But if the Dodgers were already making offers to Moncada in the hopes that he would wait until July, I wonder if they’re doing the same thing with Ibanez. And maybe the Cubs are as well?

Obviously there are other teams in baseball not subject to penalties in the next period (most notably the Rangers), but maybe we’re going to see an arms race between the Cubs and Dodgers in this next IFA class. Here’s hoping the Cubs already have some strong verbal understandings in place (only to the extent permitted by the rules, of course). Stupid Dodgers …

In any case, I am currently blacking out July 2 on my calendar, because I have a feeling I will be insanely busy all day.

*(Note that the penalties for blowing out your IFA pool have changed since the Cubs last did it – now, the penalty is an inability to sign any individual players for more than $300,000 for the subsequent two signing periods (subject to the possibility of an international draft kicking in, and changing things). If you’re going to blow it out, then, you better make sure you really load up on talent.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.