The Rundown: Yoan Moncada Cleared to Sign, James Shields Could Sign This Week, Hoyer Talks Direction of Cubs

Cuban super prospect Yoan Moncada has finally been cleared to sign with an MLB team, according to multiple reports.

And just like that, Cubs fans’ hopes of signing him deflated and flew out the window.

There’s still a chance, I suppose, but the Cubs would have to convince the 19-year-old to wait to sign until July 1, since┬áthe team exceeded its 2012-2013 allotment. It would have to be one heck of a sales pitch.

Jesse Sanchez lists his top five landing spots for Moncada as the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Padres and Tigers. My gut feeling says Dodgers, but we’ll see how things play out.

We know the Cubs have been very interested in the young infielder, although it hasn’t been reported that Moncada has held a private workout for them yet. He is expected to continue conducting private workouts for teams throughout the month, writes Jeff Passan, and I’d have to think the Cubs would be one of them.

Moncada is able to sign now because MLB has clarified its guidelines for Cuban players. MLB now requires a sworn statement saying a Cuban player is in compliance with Section 515.05 of Cuban Assets Control Regulations before being able to sign, according to Sanchez.

While Passan said Moncada may bide his time with a decision, Ben Badler suggests he could sign within the month.

The latter would obviously be unfortunate for the Cubs.

Shields rumors

Baseball news has been a bit slow lately, so you may have forgotten that RHP James Shields remains a free agent. Fairly hard to believe he hasn’t signed yet, but I guess teams aren’t as willing to pony up the cash for a 33-year-old pitcher with a lot of miles.

Rumors on interest in Shields were flying yesterday (with conflicting reports regarding the Yankees), and it sounds like we could have a resolution this week:

Other notes

* Mark Gonzales writes about new Cubs catcher Miguel Montero and how he was viewed by former teammates, specifically Randy Johnson and Daniel Hudson (short version: They liked him). The more I read about Montero, the more I like the acquisition. I was admittedly a bit worried with some of Montero’s incidents regarding young players with Arizona, but I’m starting to worry about that less. His declining offensive skills could be a legitimate worry, but hopefully he can rebound a bit from the past couple years.

* Jed Hoyer talks to Jesse Rogers about a number of topics, including the direction of the team, expectations and pace of play. Hoyer admits the front office feels good about where the team is headed, but that they haven’t “won anything or done anything” yet. I expect Hoyer to respond in this fashion, but it’s still refreshing to hear. Wrapped up in the discussion of pace-of-play changes (which Hoyer seemed to back), Hoyer says that baseball is better when the ball is put in play more. He admitted that strikeouts are not only a Cubs problem but a league-wide problem.

* Jim Callis runs down some players who barely missed his top-100 prospects list. One of those players is the Cubs’ very own OF Billy McKinney, acquired in the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade along with Addison Russell.

* More from Jesse Rogers, as he catches up with the writers of Back to the Future II. The film depicts the Cubs as World Series champions in the year 2015, defeating “Miami.” More of a fun read, but interesting. It sounds like the Cubs are well aware of the scene from the film.

* And finally, some progress in the Wrigley Field renovations:

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