Report: MLB Holding Up The Yoan Moncada Proceedings, Not US OFAC (UPDATED)

Here’s an interesting new wrinkle in the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes.  According to this report by Ben Badler, the holdup in getting him unblocked and eligible to sign does not reside with the US Dept. of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as many believed, but rather with MLB itself.

“Any Cuban national who presents documents showing permanent residence in a country outside of Cuba qualifies for OFAC’s ‘general license,’ which is not a written document. As far as OFAC is concerned, that should make him unblocked, and that’s good enough for the government to allow him to sign.

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC…

“MLB issued the following statement to Baseball America on Sunday: ‘MLB is confident with the current plan we have in place regarding signing foreign born players and will abide by the guidelines of the OFAC requirements.’

Except, by the OFAC guidelines, Moncada has met the criteria of the general license to be considered unblocked, and he is not alone.

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Report: Yankees “Intrigued” By Johan Santana, Following His Winter League Starts

Johan vs ATL

Courtesy of Getty Images

This would certainly qualify as finding rotation depth on the cheap.  Per a report by Dan Martin, the Yankees were in attendance at Johan Santana‘s first Venezuelan Winter League start last night as he attempts to come back from a torn Achilles tendon.  Santana pitched 2 scoreless innings and looked pretty good by most accounts.  According to Martin, the Yankees are “intrigued” by the idea of signing Santana, and an unnamed source that they “will keep an eye on him.”

Everybody knows Santana’s story by now.  He used to be the best pitcher alive not too many years ago, but a litany of major injuries put an end to that and have all but derailed his entire career.  It’s not just the comeback from the Achilles tear that factors into any decision on Santana, it’s the torn shoulder capsule in 2011, the second torn shoulder capsule in 2013, and the back problems.  Santana has been limited to 21 Major League starts since 2010, and at age 36 it’s hard to imagine his body and its storied injury history holding up to any kind of consistent, regular workload.…

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Report: Yankees 1 Of 2 “Heavy Favorites” To Sign Yoan Moncada

There hasn’t been a lot of news to report on the Yoan Moncada situation over the last month or so.  He held his open workout back in November and was expected to begin private workouts this week, but so far there haven’t been any reports confirming that a workout took place.

The one constant in the Moncada story since his name surfaced last year has been the pack-leading presence of the Yankees.  They were out in full force for his November workout, they’ve been named as one of the teams most likely to sign him since the beginning, and per this report by Kiley McDaniel, they’re now one of the “heavy favorites” to sign him.  The Yanks have been hesitant to seriously engage with many of the recent star Cuban free agents.  …

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Max’s Headroom, $180m? Stars Deserve $40+m/yr, So $180m is Fine for Scherzer (& Was for Sabathia) – Despite the Ugly End of Such “Deferred Comp” Deals

MaxH
The Yankees have been adamant that they have no interest in adding another nine-figure salary to the books, resisting the outside cries … [for] Max Scherzer.” Yet the “Is Max Scherzer worth it” debate won’t stop. Dueling opinions are all over our comment threads and the whole internet, with folks declaring, “signing or not signing Scherzer will decide whether the Yankees are playing in October,” or proudly “rail[ing] against long-term contracts” of $20m+/yr because they are “gamble[s] that can cripple an organization…. [M]ost of the Yankees’ $20M busts are in the last years of long-term contracts, and you should no longer be surprised that they passed on Scott Boras’ $200M, longer-term contract demands” for Scherzer. Despite the strongly varied views on Scherzer, there’s little debate on three key points.

(1) He will require a costly seven-year deal. Fangraphs estimates $168m-$175m/7yr, i.e., $24-$25m/yr. Boras may want $200m, but that demand has left Max unemployed a month after the almost-as-good Jon Lester signed for $155m/6yr.…

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Is It Really is 2B Rookie Time? Will No Humdrum Vet Displace Refsnyder’s Shot?

I’m oddly excited to read, “the Yankees are not bidding on free agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera” (Bryan Hoch tweeting, then Chad Jennings re-reporting), leaving 2B likely a competition between Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, and some journeymen minor-leaguers who won’t really have a shot unless both Ref and Pirela badly tank and/or get hurt.

The lack of an Asdrubal Cabrera era for the Yankees is is good news, as is the lack of news, since the Gregorious acquisition, that Stephen Drew might still be signed for 2B. The kids are not only investments in the future, but better bets for 2015:

  • Refsnyder’s Steamer (Fangraphs) projection is .262/.328/.390 (102 wRC+)
  • Pirela’s is .259/.307/.381 (91 wRC+)
  • Cabrera’s is .251/.316/.397 (100 wRC+)
  • Drew’s is .218/.294/.352 (81 wRC+)
  • That’s offense; on defense, Steamer projects Cabrera as a clearly minus defender, but Ref as a slight plus defender. Reports are mixed on Ref’s defense, probably because 2B is new enough to him that he’s been an inconsistent work in progress in the field.…

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    Friday Morning News And Notes: 12/19/14

    Last day of work for me before Christmas and if we’re being honest with each other, I’m already on cruise control.  Here’s a quick recap of what’s cooking on the Yankee hot stove:

    – The team continues to insist it’s not in on Max Scherzer.  Yesterday it was Randy Levine speaking the company line on behalf of the team, telling Newsday that “the chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, in my opinion, virtually none.”  Usually it’s bad news when Levine is the team mouthpiece, but he stuck to the script yesterday and managed not to say anything stupid.  That’s a plus.

    – In the world of cheaper FA alternatives, another one came off the board yesterday when the Royals signed Kris Medlen to a 2-year/$8.5 million deal.  I know he doesn’t have the upside, but seeing 2 big time arm injury guys like Medlen and Brett Anderson getting close to $10 mil makes me feel better about giving Capuano 5.…

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    Cash Dishes On Scherzer And Headley

    Brian Cashman made an appearance on NBC’s “Sports Final” late last night.  He talked to Bruce Beck about a variety of Yankee player and hot stove topics, most notably where the team stands with respect to free agents Max Scherzer and Chase Headley.  Quotes here are courtesy of Brendan Kuty, who was live tweeting the interview.

    On Scherzer, Cash reiterated the point of the Yankees not being in on him, saying “I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer” next season.  Scherzer is reportedly seeking at least $200 mil and that’s a number that, according to Cash, is a “higher level than we’d like to play in right now.”

    On Headley, Cash was much more optimistic.  In fact, this was probably the most substantial thing said regarding the Yankees’ pursuit of Headley this offseason:

    That’s quite the declaration, especially from the man representing the team that’s done everything it can to downplay its involvement with Headley so far.  …

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    Report: Yanks Willing To Go 4 Years For Headley And D-Rob

    Not much activity so far on the Yankee front on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.  I don’t think Cash has even arrived in San Diego yet.  The big story of the day so far is this report from Andrew Marchand about the Yankees being willing to go to a 4-year deal for Chase Headley and/or David Robertson.  This goes against previous reports that hinted at New York not being willing to go more than 3 for Headley, and confirms that the team is still very much interested in and involved in talks with D-Rob even after inking Andrew Miller to a 4-year deal on Friday.

    Of course, the Yankees’ reported interest comes with the always tricky “at the right price” contingency.  Headley has supposedly received a 4-year/$65 million offer from an unnamed team, a price tag that I can’t see the Yankees being interested in paying.  With that deal not signed, however, and more coming out today about how much Headley liked playing in New York, I wonder how real that offer is.  …

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    Report: Yanks In “Serious Pursuit” Of Andrew Miller

    The stove has been ice cold in Yankeeland for the last few weeks, but this report by Buster Olney may have just turned the gas back on.  Andrew Miller was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball this past season, better than D-Rob in some respects, and he’s been drawing a lot more attention on the FA market than Robertson.  I think I read something earlier in the offseason about 20+ teams showing interest in him, and all that reported interest is sure to push him into the 4-year contract territory.

    That’s the territory the Yankees seemingly don’t want to enter with D-Rob, so I’m curious as to why they’re willing to go there with Miller.  They really can’t go wrong with either Miller or D-Rob, and I would be a big fan of them adding both, but I really don’t understand the thinking here.  …

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