Moncada aiming to sign by month's end
Cuban infielder expected to work out for Cubs, Dodgers, D-backs this week
Cuban infield prospect Yoan Moncada is wrapping up private workouts for teams and is expected to make a decision on which team to join by the end of the month, according to an industry source.
The Cubs, Dodgers and D-backs are all expected to watch Moncada work out in Florida this week. The Padres conducted a private workout for him on Monday.
Teams were recently informed that Moncada intends to complete all private workouts by Feb. 23. The teenage infielder is expected to sign with a club in the days after his final workout.
In all, Moncada has worked out privately for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers, according to industry sources.
Because he is under 23 years old and did not play in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada is subject to the international signing guidelines. Under those guidelines, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool determined by the team's record in 2013 for the international signing period, which started last July 2 and ends on June 15.
Among Moncada's suitors, the Yankees, Red Sox and D-backs have exceeded their allotted bonus pools by more than 15 percent and are in the maximum penalty range for the upcoming 2015-16 signing period. The penalty includes a 100-percent tax on their pool overage and prohibits them from signing any pool-eligible player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Don Mattingly attended a private workout by Moncada earlier this month. However, the club has serious reservations about the 19-year-old because of the extreme cost, a source told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
For their part, the D-backs have been active on the Cuban market this offseason, signing slugger Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract and right-handed pitcher Yoan Lopez to a record-setting $8.27 million bonus. Because of his age and experience, Lopez was subject to the international signing guidelines. A high-ranking D-backs official confirmed the club will have representatives in Florida this week to see Moncada.
The Cubs wouldn't be able to offer Moncada more than $250,000 after exceeding their allotment for the 2012-13 offseason if Moncada chooses to sign before June 15. The Cubs already have been linked to several top teens for the 2015-16 signing period.
Moncada is the most celebrated young prospect to leave Cuba since Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler, who signed lucrative contracts with the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively, in 2012. The 6-foot, 210-pound Moncada debuted for Cienfuegos in Cuba's Serie Nacional at age 17 and hit .277 over parts of two seasons. He made a name for himself by dominating the 16-and-under and 18-and-under leagues in Cuba.
His availability as a free agent came after Major League Baseball met last week with the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for clarification regarding new guidelines for a general license for an unblocked Cuban national, according to a memo sent to MLB clubs. MLB will begin requiring a sworn statement that says a Cuban player is in compliance with Section 515.05 of Cuban Assets Control Regulations in order to sign with a Major League team.