Cuban Baseball Players to Earn $135 million in 2015 MLB Season

The highest paid will be Rusney Castillo with $11,171,429.

By Alberto Aguila  (Café Fuerte)

Outfielder Rusney Castillo will be the highest paid Cuban in 2015.
Outfielder Rusney Castillo will be the highest paid Cuban in 2015.

HAVANA TIMES — Thirty Cuban and Cuban-American players who opened the 2015 MLB contest on the big league rosters receive wages for the year amounting together to US $135 million, a figure higher than the payroll of at least 20 franchises in the current season.

According to the wage statistics of the 30 participating teams, the total income of the Cuban or Cuban origin players is $135,153,302 US dollars, and the best paid will Rusney Castillo, outfielder for the Red Sox, who will make $ 11.27 million as part of his multi-year agreement for $72.5 million.

However, Castillo, 27, may not be ready to play the opening games due to his low participation in spring training, and will start the season off the official roster, while getting into top form in the minors. The Ciego de Avila outfielder suffered a strained oblique muscle on the left side on March 3rd and although he is considered fully recovered, the Red Sox have decided not to rush it and give him a little more experience before granting him a starting position on the team.

Thirty Cubans Opening the Season

In total, 30 Cubans and Cuban-Americans started the season on the official 25-player rosters from their respective teams. Besides Castillo, at the last minute slugger Yasmani Thomas (Arizona Diamondbacks) and pitcher Miguel Alfredo González (Philadelphia Phillies) were sent to Triple A.

After Castillo, the second best paid Cuban is Gio Gonzalez. The left-handed pitcher born in Hialeah plays for the Washington Nationals for $11.1 million US dollars this season.

Yoenis Céspedes, left fielder for the Detroit Tigers, will receive $10.5 million and Pinar del Rio’s Alexei Ramirez, $10 million from the Chicago White Sox.

Yasiel Puig, the sensational player from Palmira, Cienfuegos, returns to right field for the Dodgers with a check for $6.2 million. Puig ranks ninth in the list of the 10 best paid Cubans, which closes with Eric Hosmer (born in Miami) the first baseman for the Kansas City, with $5.65 million.

At least the first 14 of the Cubans and Cuban-Americans are listed exceeding the average wage of $4.25 million, the highest since the majors founding.

The highest-paid player in the 2015 season will be the star left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw (______), from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the biggest payroll this year at $270 million.

A powerful presence

The pay checks for Cuban and Cuban-Americans far exceeds the 2014, which amounted to $92 million. The increase is 46% compared to the previous season and marks a trend for the past five years.

The phenomenon is driven not only by the flood of escaped from the island after the dream of majors, but also by increasingly talented Cuban-American players, formed mainly in Miami and other areas of Florida.

As in previous seasons, Café Fuerte put together a wage list of Cubans from their player contracts, official documents provided by the Major League Players Association, the head office of MLB, and management from the teams competing in the American and National leagues. The list includes all those players arrived from the island in recent years, as well as Cuban-Americans who developed in the United States..

The list could be higher this year to start the season; however players such as Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez, who appeared with a secure position on the payroll of the Baltimore Orioles, were sent to the minors as was lefty Roenis Elijah (Seattle Mariners). At the last minute Dayan Viciedo of the Toronto Blue Jays filed as a free agent and the prolonged recuperation of star pitcher Jose Fernandez makes his return to the rotation of the Miami Marlins only a possibility for mid-season.

The struggle to climb

It appears that Urrutia and Alvarez are very close to joining the Orioles, according to their performance of spring training. A return could also be too soon for Roenis Elijah, who had a promising season in 2014.

Other newcomers from the island will also be competing to reach the majors or earn a place among the protected 40 of each team, including Yoan Moncada (Red Sox), Héctor Olivera (Dodgers), Dyan Toscano (Atlanta Braves) Roberto Baldoquin (Los Angeles Angels) and Yoan Lopez (Arizona Diamondbacks).

The 162-game 2015 season officially began on Sunday with the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Chicago Cubs 3-0 at the legendary Wrigley Field. In the game Jorge Soler went 0-for-4 and Jon Jay, 2-for-4. On Monday, the rest of the teams began the long journey in search of a place in the October playoffs, the glorious month of postseason baseball.

The following is the list of the top paid Cubans in the Major Leagues at the start of the 2015 season:

  1. Rusney Castillo (Red Sox) – $ 11,271,429
    2. Gio Gonzalez (Nationals) – $11,100,000
    3. Yoenis Céspedes (Detroit Tigers) – $10,500,000
    4. Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) – $10,000,000
    5. José Dariel Abreu (Chicago White Sox) – $8,666,667
    6. Aroldis Chapman (Reds) – $8,05 million
    7. Alexander Guerrero (Dodgers) – $6,500,000
    8. Kendry Morales (Kansas City) – $6,500,000
    9. Yasel Puig (Dodgers) – $6,214,286
    10. Eric Hosmer (Kansas City) – $5.65 million
    11. Yasmany Thomas (Arizona Diamondbacks) – $5,500,000
    12. Alex Avila (Tigers) – $5,400,000
    13. Yunel Escobar (Nationals) – $5,000,000
    14. Leonys Martin (Texas Rangers) – $4,750,000
    15. Jon Jay (St. Louis) – $4,125,000
    16. Miguel A. González (Philadelphia Phillies) – $3,666,667
    17. JD Martinez (Tigers) – $3,000,000
    18. Jorge Soler (Cubs) – $2,666,667
    19. Adeiny Hechevarría (Miami Marlins) – $1,925,000
    20. Sean Rodriguez (Pirates Pittsburh) – $1,900,000
    21. Raisel Churches (Cincinnati Reds) – $1,714,286
    22. Danny Valencia Blue Jays) – $1,675,000
    23. Yonder Alonso (Padres) – $1,650,000
    24. José Iglesias (Detroit Tigers) – $1,650,000
    25. Brayan Peña (Cincinnati Reds) – $1,400,000
    26. Yasmany Grandal (Dodgers) – $792,000
    27. Tony Cruz (St. Louis) – $775,000
    28. Nick Castellanos (Tigers) – $525,000
    29. Paco Rodriguez (Dodgers) – $ 522.500
    30. Tony Sanchez (Pittsburgh Pirates) – $518,000
    31. Odrisamer Despaigne (Padres) – $517.300
    32. Nick Martinez (Texas Rangers) – $515,000
    33. Dan Otero (Oakland) – $512.500

2 thoughts on “Cuban Baseball Players to Earn $135 million in 2015 MLB Season

  • Looking at the Red Sox opening roster, they have decided to send Rusney Castillo to play in their minor league franchise in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. That’s a lot of money to play in AAA, but the location in Pawtucket is close to Boston, should they need to call him up. Playing regularly in AAA baseball will keep him sharp.

    Likewise, Yasmany Tomas has been sent to the Diamondback’s minor league team Reno, where he will be kept busy and close at hand.

  • That list includes a few players who were born in the US:

    Danny Valencia was born in Miami, Florida. His father is a Cuban immigrant, and his mother is Jewish American.

    Eric Hosmer was born in Miami, to a Cuban mother and an American father of German decent.

    Gio Gonzalez, Alex Avila, Tony Cruz, Jon Jay, JD Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Paco Rodriguez, Sean Rodriguez, Nick Martinez & Dan Otero were all born in Florida, of Cuban decent.

    Missing from the list is JP Arrencibia, who was born in Florida, of Cuban decent.

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