By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Dec 27 — The next multi-multi millionaire from Cuba, Yoenis Cespedes, used to be on the team from Granma Province and a regular on the country’s national baseball team.
The 26-year-old outfielder played for eight full seasons in the Cuban League and now could receive well into double million figures, perhaps as high as US $50 million, to continue his career with a US Major League team.
Cespedes has kept in shape while awating residency papers in the Dominican Republic that will allow him to be Free Agent up for grabs by the MLB teams. He arrived to the neighboring Caribbean Island last spring.
Playing for Granma, Cespedes had a lifetime regular season batting average of .319 and a .585 slugging percentage. He hit a total of 169 homeruns (including a league leading 33 in the 2010-2011 season), along with 557 RBIs.
Numerous top Cuban players have either deserted their national team while abroad or hopped on speed boats to escape their country and go for the big bucks. In Cuba, the top players live better than most of their compatriots but don’t earn even one percent (1%) of what they can pull in the USA.
Once players like Livan and Orlando Hernandez, Kendry Morales, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Leonys Martin, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Contreras, etc., leave Cuba they disappear from the island’s sports coverage and are never reported on again.
Despite a total black out on anything to do with Major League Baseball, many fans keep up on the Cuban players by alternative means including illegal satellite TV connections and information downloaded from the Internet and passed from hand to hand.
Interestingly, the Cuban government has no problem with broadcasting other professional sports like soccer and basketball.