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The Historic Deal Between MLB and the FCB Raises Some Questions

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After the deal was officially finalized last Wednesday, the commissioner of MLB issued a statement, saying,

We believe that this agreement accomplishes that objective and will allow the next generation of Cuban players to pursue their dream without enduring many of the hardships experienced by current and former Cuban players who have played Major League Baseball.

Baseball has been well aware of the troubles Cuban ballplayers have faced on their journey to MLB for a long time. As Eddie Dominguez said in Baseball Cop, “MLB rules governing Cuban’s led to corruption.”

In fact, MLB started negotiations with Cuba in 2016, the same year MLB was accused of “blind, willful ignorance” by former prosecutor Ben Daniel and the same year the Miami US Attorney’s office looked into MLB for Human Trafficking, per Eddie Dominguez.

Commissioner Rob Manfred conducts his annual #ASG Town Hall at #FanFest.
Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III – Commissioner Rob Manfred conducts his annual #ASG Town Hall at #FanFest.

On WTTS Pod, Francys said that since 2008, Cuban born players have earned upwards of $700M in MLB contracts. This creates an incentive for smugglers to find shoddy ways of helping players defect from Cuba was simply too high in exchange for a cut of the player’s contract. For example, Yasiel Puig’s smuggler, Gilberto Suarez, plead guilty to receiving a cut ($2.5M, that’s $2,500,000!) of the Puig’s contract for smuggling him out of Cuba.

There were ways to remedy the system before. Unfortunately, nobody felt motivated enough to do so.

Eddie Dominguez offered the best solution to this issue in our interview with him. To paraphrase, Eddie said that this could be stopped by simply ending Cuban player free agency. If a Cuban defects to the US to play baseball, they must enter the MLB Draft.

Dominguez’s fix removes the financial incentive for smugglers. Sure, players won’t be able to get millions of dollars upon signing with the first big league team they find, but if their talents are worth it, they will eventually get paid.

To conclude, i’d like to leave you with a couple of questions to ask the MLB commissioners office:

  • Why did it take so long for this issue to be addressed?
  • And why did MLB decide to agree on a posting system with Cuba?
  • Finally, was there any other way to remedy the current system that isn’t a posting fee system?

It’s up to us now to get the answers.

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