The wait for Yoan Moncada to be declared an MLB free agent seems to be nearing its end as the 19-year-old Cuban no longer needs an unblocking license to play in the United States, per Jeff Passan. The Obama administration has recently made changes that allow Cubans who establish residency in a third country to avoid the long process at OFAC by granting them a general unblocking license. Moncada has established residency in Guatamala after leaving Cuba, making him eligible for the general unblocking license once MLB verifies his residency. The hold up to this point has been because Moncada was awaiting a specific unblocking license instead of the general variety.
According to Passan, MLB drafted a letter to OFAC Tuesday to set up a meeting to clarify the rule changes and possibly change the league policy. MLB basically just wants to make sure that they cannot be held responsible for the penalities that might occur due to false documents and bribes that have been an issue in the past. Once that matter it settled, it sounds like there will be real progress toward teams being able to actually bid for Moncada's services. Thanks to these changes, Moncada could be declared a free agent in as soon as two weeks.
The Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs remain the favorites to land Moncada with what is expected to be a record-breaking contract. The Yankees have the advantage (?) of being able to spend wildly for Moncada if they wish because they have already far exceeded their bonus pools after an international spending spree last July. The penalties will keep them from being able to spend in the next signing period that begins July 2nd, 2015, so Moncada would be an extremely nice way to cap off what is seen as a successful investment for them in the previous period.
Moncada is not expected to make a big league impact right after signing, but he'd immediately become the Yankees' (and most other teams') best prospect upon signing. After all the improvements to the Yankees' system the last season or so, adding Moncada to the mix would put their farm system easily into the top 10 and add a highly-regarded five-tool player to a mix of promising talent. It will take a lot of money, without a doubt, but the payoff could be more than worth it.