MLB Hopes to Make the Path For Cuban Baseball Players Easier

The Tampa Bay Ray will play the Cuban National Team in Havana on March 22. President Obama is scheduled to attend the exhibition between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team on March 22 in Havana, marking the first time a Major League team has played in Cuba since 1999.

That’s a start to which MLB will be establishing a path to the Major Leagues by Cuban baseball players easier.

Major League Baseball has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Treasury Department in an effort to create a new way for baseball players from Cuba to sign directly with MLB teams.

MLB’s proposal includes the creation of a license that allows players from Cuba to enter the United States on a visa. Additionally, the plan includes the creation a new non-governmental body made up of Cuban entrepreneurs, MLB officials and the MLB Players Association. According to the proposal, a percentage of salaries paid to Cuban players would go to the non-governmental body to support sports initiatives and education, and improve sports facilities on the island.

cubaIt is unclear if the proposal satisfies the terms of the embargo, said Dan Halem, chief legal officer for Major League Baseball.

Approximately 125 prospects have left the island in the past 20 months seeking Major League contracts.

Cuba has always insisted that the players direct a percentage of their salaries back to the sport’s association that helped produce them.

“We are laying the groundwork for a potential new system in the event of future negotiations with the Cuban Baseball Federation,” MLB lawyer Dan Halem said.

It is also not clear where the Cuban government stands, although Halem confirmed that the idea had been discussed informally with Cuban officials.

Discussions, which he called “very preliminary,” began last summer.