By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — Cuban mystery baseball prospects continue to draw huge contracts with Major League teams.
The latest is outfielder Yasiel Puig, 21, who the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay US $42 million to play for seven years.
The amount of the astounding contract is many times the salaries of the entire 17-team Cuban Baseball League for several seasons.
Puig played in the Cuban league during the 2010-2011 season for his native Cienfuegos team (when he hit .330 with 17 home runs), but did not appear afterwards after he was suspended for allegedly trying to leave the country.
The signing of Puig, after a physical and paperwork, should be ready by Friday.
Like all other Cuban players who join MLB, Puig will drop off the map in his country and never be reported on again in the controlled Cuban media, due to their being categorized as traitors by the Castro government.
Puig finally made it out of the country in 2012, reaching Mexico. He was considered one of the fastest runners in Cuban baseball.
Dance of Dollars
In the dance of dollars, Cuban prospects have garnered over US $160 million in recent years and rising. Those big contracts include Jose Soler, who signed earlier this month for $30 million with the Chicago Cubs; Yoennis Cespedes ($36 million with the Oakland A’s) Aroldis Chapman ($30 million with Cincinnati); Leonys Martin ($15 million with Texas), Omar Luis Rodriguez ($4.5 million with the Yankees).
Meanwhile, Dayan Viciedo is on a $10 million contract with the Chicago White Sox and teammate Alexei Ramirez ($32 million). Kendry Morales has earned over $10 million with the L.A. Angels, and the list goes on.
The Cuban government/media promotes professional soccer on TV and even at movie theaters, but totally ignores professional baseball, the national sport, which is accordingly losing popularity among the younger generations.