Report: Cuba will not allow defectors on World Baseball Classic roster
Cuba will not allow Major League Baseball stars or any player that has defected from the country to participate in next year’s World Baseball Classic, according to Marinoticias.com
About 150 players from Cuba defected in 2015, according to Reuters.
The United States and Cuba have re-opened diplomatic talks and MLB is working with Cuban officials to normalize the process regarding players transferring to the U.S. while avoiding defection.
The decision means that the team will be without Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu, who signed a $68 million deal after defecting from Cuba. He paid $5.8 million to people who helped assist him in the process. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig recently made a trip back to Cuba on a goodwill tour in December. He would also be ineligible for the international tournament.
New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was a member of the Cuban team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic before defecting.
Cuba was eliminated in the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The national team’s best finish was a championship loss to Japan in the inaugural tournament of 2006.
Baseball is under consideration for a return to the Olympics in 2020, which would be good for Cuba as the country has won three gold and two silver medals.
- Chris Chavez