Cuban pitching prospect Yoan Lopez has been cleared by the United States government to sign with a major-league club, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
Lopez, 21, is expected to sign before spring training begins in the end of February, Sanchez reports.
Lopez defected from Cuba in 2014 and established residency in Haiti, allowing MLB to declare him a free agent.
This past November, Lopez held a showcase for teams in the Dominican Republic and he also participated in some private workouts for teams. His fastball is capable of reaching 100 mph but averages between 93 and 96.
Lopez is subject to baseball's international signing system, which applies to players under the age of 23 with fewer than five seasons of professional experience. Teams that exceed their alloted international signing funds will be taxed by MLB and prohibited from signing high-price international free agents for the next two signing periods.
- Jack Jorgensen