Cuba Releases First Group of Players Eligible for MLB

The 34 players are 17 to 25, classified as international amateurs under MLB rules and eligible to sign minor league contracts. / Reporting MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

Must Read

Takeaways from Day 2 of House Impeachment Public Hearings

Marie Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by the president as she detailed the story.

Russia Provides Mood Music for the Unfolding Political Drama

Russia is the character standing just off-stage with a dominant role in this tale of international intrigue.

Takeaways from 1st Day of House Public Impeachment Hearings

Some key takeaways from the first public witnesses, George Kent and William Taylor.

The Cuban Baseball Federation released its first group of players able to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball organizations, and some could be playing in the United States this year.

The 34 players are 17 to 25, classified as international amateurs under MLB rules and eligible to sign minor league contracts. Minor league salaries start at $850 a month but signing bonuses for top players can exceed $1 million while hundreds of players sign for $10,000 or less.

The deal announced in December by MLB, the CBF and the Major League Baseball Players Association specifies 25 percent of the signing bonus will go to the CBF as a release fee. Cuban players also pay a 4% income tax on foreign earnings.

No likely stars were apparent on the list, but more notable players included 22-year-old Raidel Martinez Perez and 23-year-old Liván Moinelo Pita, who have played professionally in Japan; 17-year-old infielder Loidel Chapellí Zulueta; and 18-year-old pitcher Norge Carlos Vera Aldana.

The agreement, which runs through Oct. 31, 2021, allows Cubans to sign under rules similar to those for players under contract to clubs in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Only players under contract to the Cuban federation are covered by the agreement, and the Cuban federation agreed to release all players 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience. They would be classified as international professionals under MLB’s labor contract with the players’ association and not subject to international amateur signing bonus pools.

The Cuban federation may at its discretion release younger players to sign minor league contracts with MLB organizations, as it did Tuesday.


“We’re doing this in the spirit of moving forward the implementation of the deal, with the goal of developing the potential of Cuban and international baseball, and, above all, fighting human trafficking,” the Cuban Baseball Federation said in a statement.

A former Cuban federation player under contract to a MLB club may return to Cuba during the offseason. He can play in Cuba during the offseason only with his MLB club’s consent.

Without a formal path from Cuba to the major leagues, hundreds of top players have left the island for good, many making harrowing crossings on rafts and rickety boats in the years before Cuba abandoned a hated exit permit requirement for most of its citizens.

Cuba Releases First Group of Players Eligible for MLB

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Today's video

Robert’s Got the Weirdest Fruits in Florida

Robert Moehling has a passion for weird tropical fruit and he grows most of what he sells.

Trending now

Gov. Ron DeSantis Proposes Budget Plan: Teacher Pay, Fewer Pythons

The proposal is about $400 million over the current Florida spending plan.

Plan Would Protect 21 Coral Hot Spots in Gulf of Mexico

The plan has attracted the attention of fishing groups, who want the government to take a cautious approach.

Impeachment: Ousted Ambassador Felt Threat; Trump Assails her on Twitter

In an extraordinary moment, Trump himself went after her again on Twitter as she spoke.
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -