UPDATE: Puig has been granted free agency and could finalize a deal with a club as soon as Friday, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The Cuban youngster has six days to come to an agreement with a major league before the new international free agent spending limits are put in place.
Cuban defector Yasel Puig has established residency in Mexico and may be granted free agency as early as today, a source has informed Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Puig update: Source says he has established residency in MX & paperwork filed to MLB & investigation process believed to be complete. #Cuba— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) June 26, 2012
An unknown issue with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is keeping Puig from free agency, but Sanchez reports it should be resolved soon.
The 20-year-old Puig hopes to join fellow Cuban defectors Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler by signing a hefty, multi-year deal with a club. Sanchez predicts that all "the usual suspects" will be involved in the bidding for Puig.
Puig, a 6’ 3" 210-pound outfielder with two years experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, is in a race to become a free agent before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s spending restrictions go into effect on July 2nd.
The new rules significantly limit the amount of money that teams can use to sign international free agents.
Prior to this year, it often took Cuban defectors six to nine months to become "unblocked" by OFAC because of a lengthy investigation process. Per new OFAC guidelines, which went into effect January 28, Cuban defectors like Puig can now receive a general license that allows Major League teams to sign him once permanent residency has been established outside the US and Cuba.