Ben Badler wrote:
CUBAN PLAYERS AND TEAMS GROWING FRUSTRATED WITH MLB FREE AGENCY PROCESS
Major League Baseball on Monday cleared Yulieski Gurriel to sign, an action that increased frustrations among Cuban players and teams, while again raising questions about how the commissioner’s office dictates which players are eligible to sign.
For many Cuban players, waiting for MLB to clear them to sign is a long process. Outfielder Jorge Ona, righthander Norge Ruiz and lefthanders Adrian Morejon and Cionel Perez are among the top young Cuban players who left their country last year and are subject to the international bonus pools. Yet all four players—and many others—are still waiting for the commissioner’s office to clear them. That is despite the fact that all of them left Cuba before Gurriel did.
Here’s when Baseball America reported that each player left Cuba:
Norge Ruiz – May 2015
Cionel Perez – May 2015
Jorge Ona – July 2015
Adrian Morejon – October 2015
Yulieski Gurriel – February 2016
For young players subject to the bonus pools, the timing of when MLB clears them to sign can have a significant impact on their future and their earning power. On Wednesday, the 2015-16 international signing period closes, followed by a two-week closed period where no signings are allowed until July 2, when the 2016-17 signing period begins.
Once the current 2015-16 signing period ends, the Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals won’t be able to spend more than $300,000 on any player subject to the bonus pools, a penalty for exceeding their pools during the 2015-16 period. Unless those players get cleared by Wednesday, they will lose the ability to negotiate a deal for more than $300,000 with the Dodgers and Cubs, two teams that have been heavyweights when it comes to spending on international free agents and Cuban players in particular.