Major League Baseball has declared 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler a free agent, however teams still cannot officially enter into an agreement with him, according to major league sources.
Soler's agent, Bart Hernandez of the Praver Shapiro Sports Management group, still must produce an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or two permanent residency documents from a new country before any deal can be consummated. However, typically when MLB sends out a memo declaring a Cuban player a free agent, full clearance usually isn't far away, at least among recent notable Cuban defectors.
Once that happens, Soler will almost certainly sign before July 2, since the new $2.9 million international bonus pools kick in on that date and Soler would be subject to the new rules. However, before July 2, there are no spending restrictions on international free agents.
Many teams believe that Soler already has a deal done, which would make most of this process no more than scripted theater, although doing so would be both a violation of MLB rules and U.S. federal law.
Baseball America's full scouting report on Soler is available here for subscribers. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported Soler's free agency.
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