Well-regarded young infielder Yoan Moncada has left Cuba with apparent intentions of qualifying for MLB free agency, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The 19-year-old switch-hitter would be subject to international spending limits, making for an interesting wrinkle in the soon-to-launch July 2 signing period.
Moncada was able to make his departure from his home nation through legal means, according to Sanchez, and must now secure residency in another country before petitioning MLB for free agency and receiving clearance from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. As Obstructedview.net explained back in May, Moncada — once a teammate of Jose Abreu and Erisbel Arruebarrena with Cienfuegos — had sought government permission to leave his club and country.
Moncada has spent most of his time at second base, though he reportedly is also capable of playing short or third. Sanchez lists him at 6’2″ tall and 205 lb. Moncada’s Serie Nacional statistics and a highlight video can also be found at Obstructedview.net. In 367 total plate appearances over the last two years — all before he turned 19 — he owns a .277/.388/.380 line with four long balls and 21 stolen bases (against 11 times caught stealing).
With teams already well along in lining up commitments to July 2 prospects, it will be interesting to see how they react to Moncada’s potential entry. Though he could still be months away from being able to sign, he would likely become eligible in the upcoming period if all goes smoothly. Unlike most of the players who may command significant bonuses, Moncada is a more developed player who has spent some time against higher-level competition.
Several clubs — most notably, the Yankees — are already said to be prepared to exceed their bonus allotments. The penalty for exceeding the cap includes a 100% tax on the overage and varying caps on future bonuses, depending upon how much the spending goes over the cap. The maximum penalty, which attaches when a team exceeds its pool by 15% or more, precludes a club signing any player for more than $300K during each of the next two signing periods.