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 baseballdecuba.com 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.