MLB Commissioner Manfred Announces Possible Spring Training Games in Cuba for 2016

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

HAVANA TIMES — Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed the intentions of Major League Baseball to stage exhibition games in Cuba during the Spring Training of 2016, notes on Friday.

Manfred also told AP that his office has had discussions with OFAC, the US Treasury Department’s office dealing with controls and restrictions on Cuba under the US embargo.

“We’ve been in ongoing conversations with OFAC (which handles players who defect) and other relevant federal agencies about trying to figure out if there’s a more regularized set of rules that can be used for Cuban players, maybe even rules that would allow them to play here and return to Cuba,” Manfred said.

Under the current embargo rules the players must obtain residence in another country to be eligible to be contracted by a MLB team. The rule feeds into the lucrative, corrupt and sometimes deadly human trafficking racket as prospects are taken by speed boats mainly to Mexico, Haiti or the Dominican Republic to seek residency and then attract a MLB team.

The commissioner added: “Our goal is to follow the lead of the federal government as this policy evolves and, hopefully, get to a situation where we have freer access to talent from Cuba.”

Cuba had a total of 74 players in the minor leagues at the start of the current season of 2015, compared to 29 in 2008.

8 thoughts on “MLB Commissioner Manfred Announces Possible Spring Training Games in Cuba for 2016

  • It is not productive to compare Cuban policy to our relationships with China or Saudi Arabia. And you are wrong about the lack of slums in Havana. You should visit the Quatro Caminos municipio. Not a favela la but definitely a slum. You are also wrong about who benefits most because of improved relations with the US. For example, Cuba has the highest gate and landing fees for foreign air carriers. Who collects that money? Casa particulares pay a flat tax regardless of the number of tourists. Again, who benefits?

  • go to sao paulo or rio or lima or caracas and see the massive slums. there are none in cuba and all children are in school. as we loosen restrictions more remittances go to help family members start or expand private business. as the US becomes more involved the lives of million of cubans will improve. the 55 year embargo had no effect on the castros but hurt the cuban population. rubio would send us back to the failed policies of the past. i see improvement in the living standards of ordinary cubans every time i go there. my expenditures there help private cuban business and not the castros. if we can have good relations with regimes in china, vietnam, saudi arabia and the gulf states we can also have good relations with cuba. cuban women have the same rights as men; in saudi arabia they have no rights and cant even drive a car. of course saudi has oil and cuba doesnt.

  • I was approached by beggars dressed in filthy rags on the streets of Havana.

    The Cuban healthcare system has steadily decayed since the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Soviet subsidies.

    The Cuban education system has likewise decayed. When an engineer can make more money as a cab driver than as an engineer, or when a teacher has to turn to prostitution to make ends meet, the worthlessness of the Cuban education is revealed.

  • You have set the bar to low if you are comparing Cuba to Guatemala and Honduras. Chile and Peru are another story. Just yesterday almost 100 Damas de Blanco were arrested for PEACEFULLY marching from Sunday mass. So, yes, THAT (insert Castros ) tyrannical regime.

  • Are you talking about the tyrannical regime that has the best education and health systems in all of Latin America? Of course portions of salaries are taken as the money to invest in human development doesnt grow on trees. Cuba is the only country in Latin America which doesnt have homeless people and beggars in the streets. Andthat is in spite of the fact that the US has tried to starve them for 55 years with an embargo that the rest of the world does not adhere to.

  • The article is misleading. MLB does not prevent Cuban ballplayers from traveling to Cuba. The US embargo does preclude MLB from paying ballplayer salaries to INDER, Cuba’s sports ministry. US immigration regulations also preclude Cubans who enjoy a special exemption from traveling to Cuba for the first year and a day of their defection to the US. The problem is not that Cubans can’t help their families. Of course they can. The problem is that the Castros want to steal the lion’s share of players multi-million salaries to pay for their tyrannical regime practices.

  • It’s not the decision of ofac or any other US government agency if Cuban ball players who defected can return home. It’s the decision of the Cuban government and no one else.

  • Cuban players should be allowed to return to Cuba during the off season and to help their families as much as they wish.

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