US reportedly trying to make sure money paid to Cuban players doesn't go to Cuban government; FBN's Blake Burman has the details.
"He's never tried to own a team (as far as we know), has yet to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and on Monday, he rescinded an agreement between the USA and Cuba that allowed Cuban ball players (sic) to join the MLB without having to undergo the unsafe process of defecting from their home country", Splinter News reports.
The Trump administration considers the Cuban Baseball Federation to be part of the island's National Sports Institute, which, according to the USA official, is a government entity that US law says makes such business dealings illegal. The payment mechanism was similar to agreements MLB has with leagues in China, South Korea and Japan.
The agreement - initially reached in December - would have allowed Cuban players to sign with Major League Baseball teams, receive their full signing bonus, and the CBF would, in turn, receive an additional 25% of that bonus as a "release fee". The Trump administration said that "a payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government", according to a Treasury Dept. letter to MLB. That reverses a ruling made by the Obama administration allowing the payments.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the USA and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball.
Opponents called that argument ridiculous given the tight control the highly regimented government maintains over virtually every aspect of life in Cuba.
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"The U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society", National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement.
The deal was killed just days after 34 Cuban players were deemed eligible to sign with the Major League Baseball.
This process would have all but negated the human-trafficking aspect of the unsafe terrain Cuban defectors have had to face in order to play Major League Baseball.
Major League Baseball defended the plan.
Under the deal, Major League Baseball teams could have signed Cuban players who met requirements of age and professional playing service. "The politically motivated attacks on the deal hurt players, their families, and fans".
Cuban MLB players who had defected include Yasiel Puig of the Cincinnati Reds, Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets and Jose Dariel Abreu of the Chicago White Sox - all of whom have signed multi-year, multimillion-dollar contracts. Cuban players older than 25 years old and with six years of experience were eligible for the arrangement.