Image via Getty/Brace Hemmelgarn
President Donald Trump‘s administration decided Monday to cancel the deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that allowed Cuban players to play in the United States without having to defect.
The deal, made in December, was supposed to run through 2021 and allowed Cuban players to sign with MLB clubs in the same way, with similar rules, the way players from Japan and South Korea do. For Cuban players, those who were over 25 years old were able to sign with organizations that paid a “release fee” to the Cuban organization. Other players were still allowed to sign minor-league deals.
The deal was previously signed off by the U.S Department of Treasury as the MLB Players Association wanted a safer and legal process for Cuban players entry into the system, but the Trump Administration decided that the Cuban Baseball Federation is too closely tied with the Cuban Sports Ministry, a change from the Obama policy that decided the two were separate. Basically, since the Trump Administration believes the Cuban Baseball Federation is part of the Cuban government, the MLB’s deal with Cuba violates the United State’s trade law as MLB teams would be indirectly paying the Cuban government.
This happens just after Cuba released 34 names of eligible players for MLB teams to sign.
Some MLB superstars have come from Cuba. Players such as Aroldis Chapman, Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Yoan Moncada, and more have all taken the journey to the pros in the MLB. This deal was supposed to end the extremely dangerous human trafficking that happens between Cuba and the U.S, especially for those baseball players wanting to go to the MLB.
Cuba has ballers, they are a baseball powerhouse, and this deal prevents even more, better, talent from coming to the major leagues. Players will be at more risk when defecting and less will get the chance to pursue their dreams. The MLB Players Association works hard to help fix this issue and I don’t think they’ll stop now.