Phillies target Yoan Moncada defected from Cuba in November, its now January and he is still looking to begin his professional baseball career. Its not for lack of interest, as just about every team has been linked to Moncada including the Phillies. A recent story from Baseball America’s Ben Badler states that Moncada’s problem isn’t the government allowing him to sign, but Major League Baseball.
Usually the process for Cuban defectors is a simple one. You defect, take up citizenship in another country (usually the Dominican republic or Mexico) prove residency and then you are a free to sign. But that all changed apparently after the Yasiel Puig signing and now Major League Baseball is requiring that players get a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets and Control. The process to get this specific license could take up to six months.
Moncada is the latest Cuban “phenom” that will demand big dollars once he is allowed to sign. The switch hitting 19-year old infielder would be a very attractive signing for the Phillies who have been looking for get more involved in the Cuban market. The Phillies were linked to players like Jorge Solar, Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Yasmany Tomas, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez who they signed. The international market would be a fast, albeit risky way to turn around a depleted farm system and an old team