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Yoan Moncada - IF CWS

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The kid has already defected,though his whereabouts are unknown. Now what we're waiting on is whether or not he'll become available prior to July 2, 2015 or not. Being 19 he is affected by the international draft signing bonuses rules. With that said, he's a truly special talent. He's in a whole other tier than guys like Rusney Castillo and Yasmani Tomas and has guys like Soler and Puig as comparable talents. Several writers, including Ben Badler, and scouts are saying he would be the clear #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft if available.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/yoan-moncada-cuban-baseball-star/

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So is he free to sign whenever?

No, he has yet to establish residency anywhere and at this point literally no one, not even his family, knows where he is. Once he emerges he'll have to establish residency and then jump through all the usually loopholes to be allowed to come over and play. July 2 is the huge date that some major market teams will be looking at. If he becomes available before July 2nd, the Cubs and Rangers will not be in the running due to going over draft limits in the 2013 international draft.Of course there is a way around this like offering the kid a huge amount of money to wait until after 7/2 to sign with them. If he becomes available after 7/2 then the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and I believe one more team, whom I cant' remember at the moment, will be unable to offer more than 250K which takes them out of the running. One thing is for sure, if you're in a dynasty league he's an absolutely must add as he's a top 15 prospect in the game immediately.

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Was coming to post the same article. It's going to be extremely interesting how it plays out. If a team like the Yankees offers 40M and you sign immediately versus say the Cubs offer 45M but you can't sign until July 2nd, what do you do?

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At this point, it seems likely he will sign before July 2nd, which eliminates the Cubs and Rangers. Ben Badler lists these 8 teams as being in the best position to sign Moncada:

Nationals

Giants

Tigers

Rays

Angels

Braves

Red Sox

Yankees

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/will-sign-yoan-moncada-eight-favorites-watch/

When we say before July 2, is that during the winter or is there a period of time it takes to establish residency?

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At this point, it seems likely he will sign before July 2nd, which eliminates the Cubs and Rangers. Ben Badler lists these 8 teams as being in the best position to sign Moncada:

Nationals

Giants

Tigers

Rays

Angels

Braves

Red Sox

Yankees

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/will-sign-yoan-moncada-eight-favorites-watch/

When we say before July 2, is that during the winter or is there a period of time it takes to establish residency?

Not quite sure what you mean. He has already established residency in Guatemala and has been declared a free agent by MLB. The last step is for him to be cleared by OFAC before he can sign. That may take a couple more months, but it should definitely happen well before the July 2nd "deadline".

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At this point, it seems likely he will sign before July 2nd, which eliminates the Cubs and Rangers. Ben Badler lists these 8 teams as being in the best position to sign Moncada:

Nationals

Giants

Tigers

Rays

Angels

Braves

Red Sox

Yankees

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/will-sign-yoan-moncada-eight-favorites-watch/

When we say before July 2, is that during the winter or is there a period of time it takes to establish residency?

Not quite sure what you mean. He has already established residency in Guatemala and has been declared a free agent by MLB. The last step is for him to be cleared by OFAC before he can sign. That may take a couple more months, but it should definitely happen well before the July 2nd "deadline".

I guess the question is, does it happen before opening day and during spring training? Or before most of our drafts/auctions in March? To me, that is what will chape his value come draft time.

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At this point, it seems likely he will sign before July 2nd, which eliminates the Cubs and Rangers. Ben Badler lists these 8 teams as being in the best position to sign Moncada:

Nationals

Giants

Tigers

Rays

Angels

Braves

Red Sox

Yankees

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/will-sign-yoan-moncada-eight-favorites-watch/

When we say before July 2, is that during the winter or is there a period of time it takes to establish residency?

Not quite sure what you mean. He has already established residency in Guatemala and has been declared a free agent by MLB. The last step is for him to be cleared by OFAC before he can sign. That may take a couple more months, but it should definitely happen well before the July 2nd "deadline".

I guess the question is, does it happen before opening day and during spring training? Or before most of our drafts/auctions in March? To me, that is what will chape his value come draft time.

If I had to guess I would say he will sign before February/March, but no one really knows for sure at this point.

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I hope this guy signs this offseason and is made available in Yahoo. Kid sounds like a stud in the making.

Yes, I'm much more excited about him long-term than Tomas.

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I hope this guy signs this offseason and is made available in Yahoo. Kid sounds like a stud in the making.

Yes, I'm much more excited about him long-term than Tomas.

Definitely. No doubt about it. He's getting Bryce Harper hype in some circles.

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Hmm. This kid seems like he's really something. The first I heard of him was on Rich Wilson and Tim McLeod's podcast a couple weeks ago, and Wilson was really high on him. After hearing these glowing reports as well, seems like he's promising.

I don't understand all the international signing rules (I wish all players just entered the draft...seems more fair? But maybe I'm just not educated on the topic) but why is July 2 such an important date?

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This is the interesting thing about this entire situation:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/09/yasmani-tomas-cleared-by-ofac-still-awaiting-free-agency.html

24-year-old outfielder Yasmani Tomas has been cleared to sign by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports on Twitter. Tomas, who is aiming to be the latest high-dollar Cuban ballplayer, still requires a grant of free agency from MLB before he can agree to a contract.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8074853/agent-says-cuban-yasiel-puig-expected-hit-market-soon

"We already sent the commissioner's office all the documentation required in order to apply for free agency, including the approval of Puig's residency in Mexico. With residency in hand, it's a matter of a couple of days before he is declared a free agent," according to Jaime Torres, who previously has represented many Cuban baseball players, including pitcher Jose Contreras, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Dayan Viciedo.

However, note the big difference in Moncada's situation:

http://www.royalsreview.com/2014/12/1/7227099/royals-free-agency-defector-yoan-moncada-cuba-international

As it always does, however, it's going to come down to the money. Moncada has already been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, and once he is cleared by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control -- it's uncertain when this will happen -- the offers will start pouring in. It's only a matter of time, but that matter could end up being an interesting one. He could end up waiting until the July 2nd signing period begins in an effort to make the market for his services more competitive -- the Rangers and Cubs will have served their two-year penalties for going over the spending limit in 2012 at that point -- or he could sign this winter when he's cleared by OFAC. Several teams will be willing to blow past their spending limits and face the tax penalties -- about 100% -- and the two-year suspension the Cubs and Rangers are currently serving that prohibits signing players for more than $250,000.

In Yasmani Tomas' and Yasiel Puig's (Established residency in Mexico, so OFAC technically didn't have to clear him) situations, OFAC first cleared them, and then they were made FA's by the MLB. However, in Yoan Moncada's situation, he was declared a FA by the MLB even though OFAC hasn't cleared him yet.

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And even more interesting:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yoan-moncada-the-most-fascinating-piece-of-the-offseason/

I was told by Moncada’s agent last week that he was allowed by the Cuban government to leave the country, that Moncada has a Cuban passport and can fly back to the country whenever he wants to. I haven’t been able to formally confirm this, but there’s no reason for the agent to lie about it, and multiple high ranking club executives told me this is how they understand the situation at this point as well.

Take a moment and let that sink in. Countless dozens of ballplayers and hundreds of normal citizens have risked their lives to leave the island on makeshift boats and under the cover of darkness. The government apparently just let one of their best ballplayers in a long time just leave on a flight to Central America. There’s been plenty of unfounded speculation about how and why this happened, with some prominent executives still unclear on how it was even possible.

There are no indications what this could mean for the next wave of players that want to defect. Players were defecting in the old style just months ago, so it’s not like people knew this shift was happening. It could also not be a shift at all, as the story could be much more complicated than we know right now. Or it could just be a one-time deal. We don’t know. I didn’t want to report this until I had something concrete, but teams are debating how many tens of millions of dollars they want to spend on this phenom and they still don’t know how this happened or what it means, so it seems reasonable to report the confusion.

On top of the unusual way he got off the island, Moncada is being represented not by a known baseball agent, but by a CPA from St. Petersburg who has never negotiated a baseball contract before. From my conversation with this agent, he doesn’t plan to bring in more seasoned baseball representation to assist him, either. He told me he wanted to keep his profile low and not let this negotiation turn into a circus or to be about him, so I won’t publish his name. That said, his involvement is a big part of this story. How this guy got hooked up with one of the best amateur talents in the world while the dozen or so agents that represent basically all Cuban players whiffed is only fueling the fire that there’s more than a few things we don’t know about this situation.

Nothing that’s happened so far suggests that this agent can’t properly handle the duties necessary for this situation (contract negotiations, coordinating workouts, managing expectations, dealing with the media, filing the mountains of paperwork, etc.) but you can be sure that some people are doubting him. As I tweeted earlier today, a scout at the event told me that two agents from Scott Boras’ agency went to the showcase yesterday and were removed from the premises by armed guards.

So Cuba just allowed him to leave? Freely that is? Did he just convince the government to let him go?

And then this no name agent, who isn't even a sports agent, becomes the agent of the most hyped Cuban prospect ever? A prospect who is getting insane Bryce Harper hype? This guy has never negotiated a contract before.

Rays website has some interesting speculation:

http://www.draysbay.com/2014/11/17/7225295/yoan-moncada-rumors-tampa-bay-rays

Who is this mystery man from the Rays' backyard? Handshake agreements are not uncommon for international signings, could it be the Rays are somehow in play? McDaniel went on to note that two agents from Scott Boras' agency attempted to attend the showcase but were removed from the premises by armed guards.

None of this adds up. Wouldn't be surprised if OFAC takes longer than usual considering the weird circumstances. 1. MLB declaring Moncada a FA before OFAC clears him. 2. Mysteriously just being able to freely leave Cuba with a Cuban passport. There is a lot we don't know about this entire situation.

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Found one last thing:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/11/18/cuban-baseball-stars-yasmany-tomas-yoan-moncada/19228953/

His back story differs from the escape tales of so many of his ball-playing countrymen in that Moncada was allowed to leave legally by the Cuban government, but it doesn't lack for twists and turns.

Author Peter Bjarkman, who has written extensively about Cuban baseball and travels regularly to the island, said that after playing sparingly in that tournament, Moncada got married to a woman several years older than him and quit the Cienfuegos team. There are some reports she is now his agent, although Hastings – who would not identify her – said he's performing those functions.

El Nuevo Herald in Miami reported Moncada's wife has dual nationality – Argentinean and American – and the couple initially traveled to Argentina around August before Moncada gained residency in Guatemala, where he has been training.

"It took about a year to get his papers,'' Bjarkman said, "but because he wasn't willing to play anymore and because he was married to a foreigner, with their relaxed emigration policy, they actually let him emigrate.''

As a player under 23 and with less than five years of professional experience, Moncada is regarded as an amateur international free agent and subject to the rules MLB adopted two years ago, which penalize teams up to a dollar for every dollar they spend on signing players past their allotted bonus amount. Teams that go more than 15% over budget would also be forbidden from signing any international amateur free agent for more than $300,000 over the next two years.

Hastings said Moncada's group has yet to field any offers, and their main concern at this point is to get him stateside. He has applied for an entry visa into the USA.

"He left the island legally and now he's able to show the world his God-given talent and improve his life,'' Hastings said. "He wants to play at a very high level and he wants to be the best at that high level. He's really driven.''

A veteran player agent not involved with Moncada said his superstar potential will prompt teams to get into a bidding war, even if they end up paying nearly as much in penalties as in bonus money. The latter figure is expected to top the $30 million mark.

"I don't think teams are going to pay a lot of attention to those restrictions,'' said the agent, who requested anonymity to avoid any appearance of impropriety. "If I were a GM, even if I can't sign another international player for two years, if I have the money, I wouldn't let Moncada go.''

What in the world is going on here? I give up. I'm not even going to try anymore.

Fantasy wise and how this affects his time table for signing makes this news good. I take back my previous comment saying it will take OFAC longer than usual to clear him. He's got residency in Guatemala already. If this is true, I don't think OFAC has to clear him anymore because he already has residency in another country (refer to the ESPN article above about Puig). Puig had residency in Mexico, so OFAC didn't need to clear him. The only thing Puig was waiting on was being declared a FA by the MLB, however, in Yoan Moncada's case, he already has been declared a FA. Last things he needs are a working visa and a passport, no? Can't imagine either of those taking so long.

Assuming the Cubs and Rangers don't magically convince him to wait to sign until July 2, 2015, no doubt he signs this winter. I'd be incredibly surprised if he isn't signed to an MLB team within the next month or so.

This was the specific part from the ESPN article I was talking about:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8074853/agent-says-cuban-yasiel-puig-expected-hit-market-soon

Under the new rules that regulate the hiring of Cuban ballplayers, upon receiving permanent residency, known as FM2 in Mexico, Puig will not need to be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that enforces the sanctions of the United States embargo against Cuba.

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Great information.

I just think for people like us it will be impossible to make much sense of this all for now, and we just have to wait. I'd assume we will start getting more answers in January and after the Super Bowl, as more people shift focus back onto baseball.

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Check that again.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/will-sign-yoan-moncada-eight-favorites-watch/

While Major League Baseball has declared Moncada a free agent, Moncada has not obtained the specific license from OFAC that Major League Baseball requires players to have before signing, and there’s no clear timetable for when that will come.

I think this has to be the hold up. This "specific license," whatever it may be, is the hold up. However, if the MLB requires players to have this license before signing, why did they declare him a FA already? Do they think he's really close to getting the license or something?

This article is imperative to understanding this situation:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/mlb-slows-down-process-for-cuban-signings/

Due to the U.S. government’s sanctions against Cuba, for a Cuban player to sign with an MLB team he must be defined as an “unblocked national” with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in order to work for a U.S. company. One way for a player to become unblocked (and the minimum that the government requires) is to present two permanent residency documents from another country, such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, to a prospective employer.

As of last summer, MLB told teams they could not sign any Cuban player until he had either been issued an unblocking license from OFAC or produced at least two government documents showing permanent residence in another country. Last June, several notable players, including Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler, signed after presenting permanent residency documents (Puig from Mexico, Soler from Haiti) without going through OFAC.

However, at some point before the end of 2012, MLB stiffened its requirements for Cuban players, telling teams they are not allowed to sign a Cuban national until the player has been issued a specific license from OFAC. The agency’s general licensing of an unblocked national is not a written document and does not require the player to submit anything to OFAC. The specific license is a document from OFAC to an individual in response to a written application.

What MLB is asking for from Cuban players goes beyond the minimum government requirement and will have the effect of slowing down their signing process, with some having to wait six months to get a license.

“OFAC’s regulations contain a general license authorizing persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in most transactions with an individual national of Cuba who has taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba,” said Jeff Braunger, the program manager at OFAC. “If the conditions of the general license are met, no further authorization from OFAC is required for an MLB team to sign the individual.”

No law has changed since June 2012, when Puig and Soler signed; MLB has simply stiffened what it requires. MLB has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

The government’s unblocking process clearly was not created with baseball players in mind. The overarching purpose is to make sure Cubans working for U.S. companies aren’t sending money back to Cuba or funneling it back to the Cuban government. Baseball players defect from Cuba, making themselves outcasts there, so their intention is never to return to the country.

The easiest way for a Cuban player to become an unblocked national would be to come directly to the United States, but then the player would be subject to the draft. For players like Puig, Soler or Jose Abreu, that would cost them and their handlers significant money. So they want to avoid the draft, and at the same time they want to sign as quickly as possible. Every day the player doesn’t get signed creates more expenses for his handlers.

The process also creates incentive for fraud to expedite the process. It’s not difficult to acquire false passports or other documents in countries like Haiti or Mexico, no different than the way drug traffickers or arms dealers acquire fake identities.

So the policy change has caused a longer wait for Cuban players to be able to sign, although there appears to be a significant disparity in the wait time. Sources said that some players have received licenses in less than two months, while others have taken closer to six months. Agents who are able to quickly get their players unblocked can also use that as a selling point to acquire Cuban players when they leave Cuba, squeezing others out of the market.

Where Moncada is in this entire process of getting this license from OFAC remains to be seen. Getting this license could take anywhere from 2-6 months. My last prediction of him signing within the next month may be inaccurate depending on how close Moncada is to getting this license. Wonder how long it took the most recent Cuban players like Jose Abreu or Alex Guerrero to acquire this license after gaining residency in a non-Cuban nation. The thing is though, he's already held a workout in front of MLB teams in Guatemala in which I believe every MLB team attended and around 100 scouts were there. I believe this occurred in early November. So why hold the workout if he's not close to obtaining this license and ultimately close to being able to officially sign with an MLB team? Would he really hold the workout even though it won't be another 6 months or whatever before signing because of this license?

The bolded part above is the interesting and complicated part. This is where Moncada's case becomes incredibly special. It seems Moncada can freely travel to Cuba when he wants to based on his passport and the entire situation of Cuba just allowing him to leave, unlike other Cuban players who probably never want to go back there. And since he could go back there easily, I'd imagine this would raise red flags with OFAC about the money going back to the Cuban government or making it incredibly easy to send money back to Cuba.

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For example, if we go by the dates on the Rotoworld update blurbs for the most recent Cuban signing in Yasmani Tomas, here's what we get:

June 20, 2014- Defected from Cuba, however, needs 3 things: Obtain residency in another country, get the license from OFAC, and have the MLB declare him a FA.

July 28, 2014- Jesse Sanchez tweets that Tomas filed residency paperwork in Haiti. Sometime between now and September 10 I assume is when he fully got the residency.

September 10, 2014- Tomas receives license from OFAC and is cleared.

September 21, 2014- Tomas has his showcase in Dominican Republic in front of teams and scouts.

October 2, 2014- MLB declared him FA.

November 26th, 2014- Tomas signs with D-Backs.

In Moncada's case, this is what we get:

August- Leaves Cuba.

August-October- Right around this time it seems is when he established residency in Guatemala.

November 12- Has showcase in front of teams and scouts in Guatemala.

November 15- Declared FA by MLB.

So Moncada seems to have everything except for that license from OFAC. The order of events with Tomas and Moncada are different though. Tomas got the license from OFAC first and then had a showcase for MLB teams before finally being declared a FA by the MLB. Moncada, on the other hand, has had his showcase and has been declared a FA by the MLB before OFAC gives him the necessary license. I'm going to guess he applied for the license shortly after he established residency in Guatemala, so maybe around September is when he officially applied for the license. In comparison with Tomas, he received his license a little under 3 months after leaving Cuba.

We'll see how this all plays out in the end. Obviously the dates aren't super accurate, but it's the best we have to go from. Hoping Moncada signs this winter, but not entirely sure that happens.

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http://m.mlb.com/news/article/103076246/cuban-teen-prospect-yoan-moncada-arrives-in-united-states

Cuban teenage prospect Yoan Moncada is in the United States.

Moncada arrived from Guatemala over the weekend using a visitor visa and he is currently staying with his agent David Hastings in Florida, according to MLB.com sources. Last month, the switch-hitting infielder, established residency in the Central American country and Moncada was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He must still be unblocked by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control before he can come into a final agreement with a club.

On Tuesday, FanGraphs.com reported Moncada was in Florida.

It's unclear what the next step is for Moncada, 19, but his arrival could mark the beginning of private workouts for teams within the month or at the beginning of 2015. The teenager, who began playing professionally for Cienfuegos in Cuba at 17, has been compared to Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler and Yasiel Puig at the same age.

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Anyone have a clue about his foreseeable longterm position? Or even IF vs OF probability?

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Anyone have a clue about his foreseeable longterm position? Or even IF vs OF probability?

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/101256810/cuban-phenom-yoan-moncada-impressive-in-workout

Different sources had Moncada timed differently in the 60-yard dash, though he ran somewhere in the 6.56- to 6.6-second range. That gives him a 70 for his speed on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, or close to the top of the scale. Moncada reportedly looked better at third and second than he did at shortstop, with enough arm from any infield position. He swung the bat well from both sides of the plate, showing plus raw power both ways. The only negative was that Moncada didn't face live pitching, hitting only off of a BP pitcher. When asked to grade out his tools based on this workout, in combination with previous reports, one scout gave the following grades:

Hit -- 60

Power -- 60

Speed -- 70

Arm -- 60

Field -- 50

"Moncada had a great workout, showing his five-tool potential," one scout in attendance said. "He is in great shape. Unfortunately, he was not able to hit off live game pitching. We will need to see him off of live pitching to command the top dollars they are looking for."

Not exactly set in stone what position he plays though. I remember reading he's also capable of playing the OF, so his versatility will give whatever team signs him a lot of options. Bet he ends up at 2B or 3B though.

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Anyone have a clue about his foreseeable longterm position? Or even IF vs OF probability?

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/101256810/cuban-phenom-yoan-moncada-impressive-in-workout

Different sources had Moncada timed differently in the 60-yard dash, though he ran somewhere in the 6.56- to 6.6-second range. That gives him a 70 for his speed on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, or close to the top of the scale. Moncada reportedly looked better at third and second than he did at shortstop, with enough arm from any infield position. He swung the bat well from both sides of the plate, showing plus raw power both ways. The only negative was that Moncada didn't face live pitching, hitting only off of a BP pitcher. When asked to grade out his tools based on this workout, in combination with previous reports, one scout gave the following grades:

Hit -- 60

Power -- 60

Speed -- 70

Arm -- 60

Field -- 50

"Moncada had a great workout, showing his five-tool potential," one scout in attendance said. "He is in great shape. Unfortunately, he was not able to hit off live game pitching. We will need to see him off of live pitching to command the top dollars they are looking for."

Not exactly set in stone what position he plays though. I remember reading he's also capable of playing the OF, so his versatility will give whatever team signs him a lot of options. Bet he ends up at 2B or 3B though.

I heard on MLB network that he can play any position but SS and catcher.

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https://sports.vice.com/article/the-weirdest-cuban-baseball-defector-story-youll-ever-read

Really great article here. Definitely a recommended read.

Immediately after the story's publication, Hastings said he hired two armed guards to protect Moncada 24 hours a day. Hastings said several incidents since Moncada's location was revealed have had them fearing for Moncada's safety.

"It's certainly not the most perfect situation, but we've hired people that we think we can trust and we've managed so far, so we just keep our fingers crossed every day," Hastings said. "We've been down there several times. It's not like we just dropped him off and told him to fend for himself. We've done the best we could."

Ideally, Hastings said, they wanted to hide Moncada in Guatemala until they could obtain a visa for him to travel to the U.S. Then, they could hold a showcase in the U.S. without any safety concerns. But Hastings said the visa process was complicated and lengthy.

As of last week, Hastings said Moncada had a visit with the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala scheduled for January 15, but that he was trying to get an earlier date. Moncada's presence in Florida means Hastings has probably obtained that earlier meeting.

Moncada's workout in Guatemala on November 12 drew about 70-100 scouts and executives, a testament to the shortstop's talent. Some teams had as many as six people attend. A security guard from St. Petersburg stood on the third base line, and according to one person in attendance, had a gun holstered under each arm.

Moncada hit batting practice and fielded grounders. To the disappointment of many scouts, he was not able to face live pitching because the Guatemalan national team was in Mexico for the Central American Games. With Guatemala not being a predominant baseball nation, there were no other viable pitchers for Moncada to face.

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