MLB…Have We Opened Pandora’s Box?

The other day, the Boston Red Sox won the courtship of young Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada. The Red Sox have signed Moncada for a staggering $31.5M dollars, which after the MLB penalty for going over their foreign player exception, will cost them $63M dollars. That is a princely sum of money for a kid who has never played one inning, even the minor league system, here in the United States…
I had asked a few weeks ago if the thaw in the frosty diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba might lead to the floodgates being flung open for Cuban prospects to be able to play in the United States? I can’t say for sure, but even though players have been trickling in for the past few years anyway, the answer is probably ‘yes’. Recently, players such as Yasiel Puig, Rusney Castillo, Yasmani Grandal, and several others have made their way on to the American baseball landscape, and I believe that there are many more to come. Historically, Cuban payers such as Minnie Minoso, Leo Cardenas, Sammy Sosa, and Luis Tiant come to mind…
According to Baseball Reference.com, there have been 61 Major League baseball players born in Japan, 15 were from South Korea, while number of players born in Cuba total 186. While the amount of players from Japan really has not seen a dramatic influx, and an uptick in Korean ballplayers has not happened yet, there could be a veritable tidal wave of Cuban players coming to the United States, and I do not necessarily think that this is a bad thing. If we want to keep MLB as the premier baseball product on the world stage, then we need to have the best players playing here. This has become a larger issue over the past few years, as baseball is being forsaken by young athletes today for football and basketball. I am hopeful that MLB initiatives like ‘RBI” (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) will be successful in bringing the young athletes back into the baseball fold. Until then, we will need to recruit from the best talent pools in the world, and among the best is on the island of Cuba. Yes, Puerto Rico, Central America, Korea, and Japan also have vast talent, but for now we are sticking with Cuba.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of Yoan Moncada. I wish him the best, and I think it will be very intriguing to see what happens with a potential influx of Cuban baseball talent on American baseball fields.

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