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Baseball America: MLB and the General License.


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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. That goes beyond what the government requires from Cuban players to be able to begin their careers, and with some players waiting six months to receive their licenses, MLB's policy has added a significant bottleneck for those players.

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. Cuban second basemen Hector Olivera and Andy Ibanez have both obtained residency in a third country. Yet none of them has signed yet because they are still awaiting response from the government on their application for the specific license that MLB requires. Several other less-noteworthy Cuban players are in the same situation.

While MLB didn't elaborate, the league's stance appears to be a conservative one to limit its own liability in the event that a player uses false residency papers. Under the general license, the player doesn't have to formally submit anything to OFAC. But through the specific license, if a player uses false residency papers and OFAC were able to discover that, those who submitted false documents to the government could face federal felony charges.

f a team ever wanted to fight MLB on its own rules, though, it could present an interesting dilemma. Five teams, including the Yankees and Red Sox, are already in the maximum penalty range for the current international signing period, which ends on June 15. After that, they won’t be able to sign any pool-eligible players—including Moncada and Ibanez—for more than $300,000 for the next two years. What would happen if the Yankees went to Moncada tomorrow (or on June 15, if it came down to that) and convinced him to sign a contract with them?


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Despite the tremendous cost it would take to sign Moncado, he seems like the perfect type of player for the O's to take up another fight with MLB. Signing him before MLB approval seems like an appropriate reaction for all the trouble they have caused for the O's recently. Might as well throw another suit in the ring.

"We have a legal, government approved contract with this player and you are illegally preventing him from playing for us...of course we already know what you think of previously signed contracts so The Firm will be contacting you...again."

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