For years, Cuban defection has been a hot topic not just in society, but also for MLB. In recent years, the league has seen a steady increase of Cuban players, with all of those players essentially ‘escaping’ their home country in ways unimaginable.
In 2018, a deal was made last year between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that would allow Cuban players to come to the United States without first escaping from the island and formally defecting was designed to address it. However, Donald Trump has rejected the deal.
This comes days after the Cuban Baseball Federation released a list of 34 young players that would be allowed to sign with MLB teams. The deal between MLB and Cuba had been expected to run through the 2021 season, and allowed Cuban-born players to sign with MLB clubs under the same rules as other international players. That means that players over the age of 25 were allowed to sign with organizations if they ponied up a “release fee” to their Cuban team. Other players were also free to sign contracts with minor league squads.
Trump adminstration has canceled the deal allowing Major League Baseball to sign Cuban players. They say Cuban Baseball Federation was part of the Cuban Govt. so the December deal was illegal. 34 players were eligible to sign with MLB. They aren't now.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) April 8, 2019
The thrust of the government's argument, as laid out in a letter from Treasury Dept. to MLB obtained by ESPN: "A payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government." U.S. government sees the CBF as an arm of the Cuban government. Deal nixed accordingly. pic.twitter.com/oQhtn2R9gw
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 8, 2019
With this reversal, it’s not like Cuban players will stop attempting to make it to America, but it will for sure continue to be a hard a dangerous road for the players to have to escape from the island.
MLB was trying to stop the frightening stories of human trafficking or defection that many Cuban players have endured. Deal would have allowed payment to Cuban baseball federation for players, like Japan. Trump admin saw that as payment to Cuban government. https://t.co/SsTpCYjlra
— Brian Murphy (@MurphinDC) April 8, 2019
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