Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day, and trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk isn't easy. It's OK, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end.
Cuban teenager Yoan Moncada has been described in gushing terms ever since it was clear that his arrival in the United States was imminent. Baseball America's Ben Badler suggested he could be the number one draft pick in 2015 were he eligible for that, and that he projected to be a better player than Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas, the last two Cuban players of note, who signed for $72 million and $68.5 million, respectively. He's spent his time playing middle infield and center, and his bat is the real draw, but there are a couple of things holding up the whole signing in MLB process in spite of all this good stuff. Moncada hasn't been cleared to sign just yet, as he hasn't received clearance from the United States government yet -- MLB can't recognize him as a free agent officially until that happens. Once he's cleared, there is still the whole matter of the massive, 100 percent tax whichever team signs him will have to pay on his contract.
You see, Baseball instituted an international signing cap with the most recent collective bargaining agreement, and there are penalties for exceeding it. Teams generally have just a few million to work with -- the Astros had the worst record in 2013, and therefore the largest spending pool, and they only had about $5 million to work with. If you blow your budget by a little bit, the penalties aren't so bad, but once a team is more than five percent over, their future signings become limited in addition to a tax. This matters for whoever signs Moncada, as it's expected he's going to agree to a deal for between $30 million and $40 million -- that means whoever signs him will also have to pay Major League Baseball an equal amount in taxes, doubling the cost. That, and they won't be able to sign an international player for a bonus of more than $250,000 for two years, severely limiting their options. On the bright side, though, they would have Moncada.
Braves and Mets
Braves and Mets
Combine the tax with the fact Moncada is a player who will head to the minors, and suddenly it's clear that the most likely destinations are rich ones who can afford to pay big-league salaries to a kid in Double-A. While teams like the Nationals, Giants, Tigers, and Angels have all been matched up with Moncada in the recent past, the favorites at the moment are the Red Sox and Yankees. Here's the kicker, though: since both already blew past their draft budget in 2014, if Moncada's situation isn't cleared up by June 15 (the end of the current international signing period), neither will be able to sign him. Don't worry, they just have to wait for the US government to complete a task in a timely fashion in order to avoid that. They're usually pretty good about that when it involves sports.
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