Monday, September 15, 2014
Cuba is one of the biggest sources of international baseball talent. But, because of the US embargo, most Cuban players have to use smugglers to get themselves to the United States. What’s more, due to a quirk in Major League Baseball rules around contracts, those Cuban players often first have to travel to a third country, like Mexico — a difficult process.
And that’s where traffickers come in. In recent years, some Major League Baseball players have revealed that a variety of criminals have been kidnapping and extorting talented Cuban players before they can get a major league contract — in order to get a cut of their future earnings. Some of these traffickers may even have ties to Mexican cartels.
This issue is only just starting to get attention from courts and investigators — the first conviction of a smuggler for trafficking Cuban ballplayers happened in 2011. These trafficking cases involve dozens of Cuban ballplayers, most of whom never even make it to the major leagues.
This year, Cuban-born Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig became the poster boy for ballplayer trafficking. In his journey to the United States, Puig was kidnapped and extorted — and some of the traffickers he was involved with have even resorted to murder as they try to get a share of his salary. Puig’s lurid story, and his stature as a star, have brought the trafficking issue to the attention of baseball commentators.
Friday, August 22, 2014
And he’s eligible for the playoff roster!
We’ve been following the derby to sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. Now it looks like the Red Sox have won the derby:
Jesse Sanchez @JesseSanchezMLB
Source: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on track for record-setting 6-year, $72 million deal with #RedSox. Check MLB.com
That’s a lot more than Yasiel Puig got ($42 million), and Puig was considered Castillo’s closest comp… Castillo, 27, is said to have plus speed and should be ready to debut with the Red Sox early next season.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
With concerns about calcium, shouldn’t he think about heading to Milwaukee?
Praise has been far from faint for Rusney Castillo, who is considered to be the latest in a long string of impact players imported from Cuba. The highly regarded 27-year-old outfielder seems to be nearing a decision on where he will play, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes report that Castillo is expected to “declare his intentions any day now.”...
Castillo should be in line for an impressive payday, though it’s unlikely that he receives as much as Jose Abreu got from the White Sox last offseason. Represented by Roc Nation Sports, Castillo was said to originally be in line for a $25-$35 million deal, but it now looks like he will outdo the $42 million that Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers a couple years ago. According to Peter Gammons, he is now looking at a deal between $40 and $70 million, while FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pegs him as receiving something around six years and ~$50 million….
There seems to be a long line of suitors for Castillo, though the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, and Cubs seem to be leading the pack. ...
Those five clubs are far from alone in their pursuit of Castillo. The Mariners, Orioles, Giants, Astros, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Braves have also all been mentioned as potential suitors, and could wind up nabbing him when his decision is announced, likely within the next few days.
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