The Trump administration's hardening stance on Cuba — especially because of the Cuban government's support for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — will have some major ramifications for Major League Baseball.
While Cuban players have historically had to undergo grueling, life-threatening defections to play in the United States, MLB and its players' union struck a deal with the Cuban government in December that would have created "a safe, legal path" for Cuban players to sign with MLB teams after reaching a certain age or accruing enough service time. The only catch was that the MLB team acquiring the player would pay a fee to the Baseball Federation of Cuba — and that turned out to be enough for the White House to put a stop to the deal.
MLB reportedly sent a letter to the Treasury and State Departments in January, outlining the purpose of the deal, which the league says was based more on humanitarian grounds than economics. The letter detailed the harrowing tales of human-trafficking that several notable baseball players had to go through after leaving the island. But the political situation proved to be of greater importance to the White House, as National Security Adviser John Bolton foreshadowed on Sunday. Tim O'Donnell
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