MLB, MLBPA and Cuban Baseball Federation make much-needed changes that will allow players from Cuba to sign without defecting.
Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox had an unimaginable journey to MLB. The native Cuban went through a lot that most people can’t even fathom just to have an opportunity to play major league baseball.
On Wednesday, MLB, the MLBPA and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced an agreement that will help future baseball players from Cuba to a much better path to the Majors. No longer will players who dream of someday playing in MLB have to endure illegal tactics to get signed. This new agreement will allow players from Cuba to be scouted and signed by an MLB team without the need to defect from their home country.
For Abreu, the new agreement is nothing but good news for the player who has to still deal with harassment over his defection from Cuba. Abreu signed with the Sox after the 2013 season and has been one of their better offensive players since his rookie season in 2014.
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There have been countless stories of players enduring tough ordeals just to defect from Cuba. With the new agreement, the FCB will join Nippon Professional Baseball, the Chinese Professional Baseball League and the Korea Baseball Organization to have this sort of agreement in place. FCB will have to release all players that are at least 25 years old with six or more years of playing experience that are under contract to sign with major league teams.
"“Knowing that the next generation of Cuban baseball players will not endure the unimaginable fate of past Cuban players is the realization of an impossible dream for all of us. Dealing with the exploitation of smugglers and unscrupulous agencies will finally come to an end for the Cuban baseball player.“To this date, I am still harassed. The next generation of Cuban baseball players will be able to sign an MLB contract while in Cuba, they will be able to keep their earnings as any other player in the world, they will be able to return to Cuba, they will be able to share with their families, and they will be able to play the sport they love against the best players in the world without fear and trepidation. Great day for Cuban baseball players.” Jose Abreu"
This new agreement in place is a win for everyone involved. Defecting from Cuba can be risky for a player that has hopes of playing in the Majors. Not only do they risk being arrested or worse, but they also have to deal with ramifications from smugglers and others who harass them and their families.
There will be a lot of players that will benefit from this new agreement. The future of baseball will be better along with the lives of many hopeful individuals from Cuba.