Yesterday, the MLB, MLBPA, and Cuban Baseball Federation jointly announced that they agreed on a posting system of sorts for Cuban players that will last through 2021, one that has previously only been used in East Asia.
The FCB becomes the fourth foreign professional baseball league to enter into an agreement of this nature with MLB, joining Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), and the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).
The primary goal appears to be allowing for a safe way for Cuban players to make their way into the MLB without having to involve human trafficking, and in return the FCB receives a fee.
Under this agreement, the FCB must release all players under contract to the FCB who are at least twenty-five (25) years old and have six (6) or more years of playing experience (known as “Foreign Professionals” under MLB rules) to sign with MLB Clubs. The FCB may also release younger players to sign with Major League Clubs. Once a player is released by the FCB, he is free to negotiate and sign with any Major League Club without leaving Cuba, subject to the same collectively bargained rules applicable to all international players. A Major League Club that signs a player released by the FCB pursuant to this agreement will pay the FCB a “release fee,” the amount of which is calculated using the same formula contained in MLB’s protocol agreements with the NPB, KBO and CPBL. When it is time for the player to report to the United States or Canada for baseball activities, he will do so pursuant to a standard work visa, which will also allow him to travel with his family and to return to Cuba during the off-season if he chooses. A more detailed summary of the key provisions of the agreement is attached.
The fee mentioned will be 15%-20% of any Major League contract and 25% of any minor-league deals, with bonuses counting towards this as well.
One Cuban player that has expressed support of the agreement is none other than Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
“To know future Cuban players will not have to go through what we went through makes me so happy,” Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said. “I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this happen and thank them personally for allowing an opportunity for Cuban baseball players to have the ability to come and show how talented they are. Thank you.”
I doubt his reaction will shock anybody who has read the harrowing tale of his journey from Cuba to the United States, and many other Cuban players in the majors had similar reactions to the news. Hopefully this agreement will go over smoothly so that at least no other Cuban player has to go through anything like that again.