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Cuban Players Newsbeat

Friday, August 26, 2022

Cuban teen Luis Morales declared free agent by MLB, expected to get record bonus for a pitcher, source confirms

Cuban right-hander Luis Morales, a coveted 19-year-old prospect who is expected to demand a record-breaking sum for a pitcher from the international bonus pool, will be eligible to sign with an MLB team on Sept. 7 after being declared a free agent on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The Oakland Athletics are considered heavy favorites to sign Morales, who peaked at 97 or 99 mph in various workouts for MLB teams. He defected from the Cuban U-23 team in Mexico City in September 2021.

Morales, who held open showcases for teams in January and April in Mexico City, has a breaking ball that projects to be above average, but his changeup is a clear third pitch and his command still comes and goes, as is common for pitchers with that kind of velocity as a teenager.

Since most of the pool money in this current international signing period has been spent, Morales is expected to sign when the next period begins on Jan. 15.

The biggest bonus given to a pitcher since the international bonus pool was capped was to Cuban right-hander Sandy Gaston, who was given $2.61 million by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. Shohei Ohtani received $2.315 million from the Los Angeles Angels in Dec. 2017.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 26, 2022 at 03:35 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban players, luis morales

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Extractor: Trailer ‘The Kids We’re Helping Are Like Walking Lotto Tickets’

Baby J separates from his teammates, lingering on the fringe near the lobby entrance. He makes eye contact with Billy, quick and stern, so they’re clear but don’t arouse suspicion. Baby J nods at Billy, who nods back. Seconds pass. Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .

One minute.

Baby J takes off running—away from his teammates and toward Billy, an MLB career and his new life. He dashes so fast he smashes into Billy halfway through their sprint to the car. Cubans will soon marvel at the speedy getaway, making memes comparing Baby J to the cartoon Road Runner or Usain Bolt.

NattyBoh Posted: July 29, 2022 at 12:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ariel prieto, cuban players, defection, orioles

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

‘The Kids We’re Helping Are Like Walking Lotto Tickets’

As far as athlete extractions from Cuba go, there’s no manual, no database and, often, no rules. Most athletes turn to smugglers, hiring coyotes often linked with cartels and organized crime syndicates. Some climb on dangerous speedboats.

The athletes assume these risks for a number of reasons. They might not know of an alternative way out. They might know someone who escaped Cuba without harm. Mostly, though, those methods represent the fastest way from their old life to their new one. Still, there are risks. In 2012 outfielder Yasiel Puig was threatened and held for ransom in Mexico by the Zetas cartel. In ’13, José Abreu, a first baseman for the White Sox, used a fake passport to board a flight from Haiti to Miami, but ate it en route because U.S. law, at the time, allowed Cubans arriving without travel documents to stay. Those who fail in fleeing—like Yordenis Ugás, the boxer who didn’t successfully defect until his sixth attempt—get thrown into detention centers.

Seven years ago, Jo started her foray into this secretive corner of the sports world with a different thesis. A Cuban immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. with her family when she was 4, the issue was personal to her. She believed that there had to be a better way for athletes to defect—and that she, a restaurateur from Tampa with no experience, would be the one to find it.

The strategy she devised involved lawyers, time, safety precautions and a mountain of paperwork. Her preferred method is assisting defections to countries with friendly laws for establishing residency, like Mexico or Ecuador. There, the athletes will wait for months on end, impatience and desperation growing daily, as she works to obtain visas for legal entry to the U.S.

But even her way isn’t free of dangers. It stems from the waiting, combined with the value of the players she protects. To absorb those risks she needed Billy, a former college football player turned military and police officer.

He solved her issues. But over time, in doing that, he created a major problem of his own.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 20, 2022 at 12:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban players



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