President Trump's administration has canceled a deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) that would have allowed Cuban players to come to the United States without defecting, reports the Washington Post. The administration added that the FCB was part of the Cuban government and trade with it was illegal under current law.
According to the Post, a Trump administration official said that the payments were equal to "human trafficking" by the Cuban government.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the MLB sent a letter to the Treasury and State Departments, outlining the purpose of its agreement. It included the stories Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Leonys Martin and Yunel Escobar, which were stories that the deal was supposed to end.
MLB issued the following statement, according to Keith Law:
"We stand by the goal of the agreement, which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba."
Under the agreement, MLB teams would need to pay the FCB for the contractual release of players who are 24 years old or younger and have five or fewer years of service. MLB teams would have been able to sign Cuban players who are 25 or older and who have at least six years of experience in FCB without the consent of the FCB.
The deal was agreed upon in December after the deal was first negotiated by the Obama administration. The FCB became the fourth organization to reach a similar agreement with the MLB following deals with Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korea Baseball Organization and the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Earlier this month, the FCB released the names of 34 Cuban players it said were eligible to sign with the MLB.