According to the Jit website of the Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), Major League Baseball (MLB), with the approval of the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), signed an agreement so that Cuban baseball players who are members of the FCB can be hired by any of the 30 MLB teams.
OnCuba had advanced the possible agreement on Wednesday night.
The note explains that the parties signed the agreement that will allow Cuban baseball players, who play in the National Series and in the rest of the Cuban baseball competition system, to sign contracts with U.S. teams.
Following is the content of the aforementioned note.
The agreement, materialized after three years of negotiations, ensures collaborative, stable and non-politicized relations between the MLB and the FCB. In general terms, its clauses are similar to those established by the MLB with other foreign leagues such as the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB); the League of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).
It also represents a legal way and in accordance with international practice so Cuban players can play without discrimination, on equal terms, in the MLB, without being forced to break ties of any kind with their country.
With practical application as of its signature (December 19, 2018), the agreement establishes that Cuban players will be able to play in the U.S. professional league without losing their residence in Cuba, nor their link with Cuban baseball.
Under the agreement, the FCB must release all hired players who are at least 25 years of age and have six or more years of experience in the National Series.
The FCB will receive a payment of a release fee, totally independent of the contract signed by the player. Additionally, it could free players who do not meet these requirements, who would be hired as amateurs in the Major Leagues.
The agreement also applies to Cuban players who have emigrated to third countries to try to get to the MLB that way, and who for diverse reasons have not achieved it and are reinserted into the national competitive system.
This agreement will regulate the relations between the FCB, MLB and Cuban players from the moment of its signing. Like any agreement, it does not imply a retroactive recognition of previous events. It will exclusively apply to relations established between these individuals from the beginning of its application.
The agreement will help curb illegal activities such as human trafficking, which for several years have put at risk the lives and physical integrity of many young Cuban baseball talents and their families.
The agreement is a recognition of the Cuban sport, in particular the quality of baseball’s development system in Cuba, which despite many obstacles, continues to produce talented and passionate baseball players.
The agreement is part of the effort to continue strengthening the practice, enjoyment and development of the national sport. The agreement will have a positive impact for many athletes in the country, for national teams and the FCB.
Key terms of the new agreement between MLB and the Cuban Federation
- Only Cuban players who have a game contract with the FCB (“FCB Players”) are covered by the Agreement. Any Cuban player who does not have a contract with the FCB is eligible to sign with any MLB Club in the same way as any other unsigned international amateur player.
- According to the Agreement, all FCB Players are classified into one of two categories: (i) “FCB Professionals,” who are FCB players who meet the definition of “Foreign Professional” under the Basic Agreement between the MLB and the MLBPA (that is, 25 years or older with six or more years of professional experience); and (ii) “Amateurs FCB,” which designates all other FCB players who are at least eighteen (18) years of age. Each off-season period, the FCB must release all FCB professionals who wish to sign with a MLB Club. The FCB may also release FCB Amateurs to sign with a MLB Club during the MLB amateur international hiring period, beginning every July 2.
- Once released by the FCB, all FCB players receive the same treatment as other international players under the Basic Agreement, and can negotiate and sign with any MLB Club that is willing to pay the corresponding Release Fee (see below).
- The release rate that the MLB Club owes to the FCB for signing a FCB player is calculated using the same formula incorporated in the MLB agreements with NPB, KBO and CPBL (i.e., between 15% and 20% of the total value guaranteed for MLB contracts, and 25% of the bonus to be signed for minor league contracts). In addition, supplementary release rates may be due if a contract with a FCB player contains bonuses, escalators or options that are later activated. The Release Fee (and any Extra Release Fee) paid by the MLB Club is in addition to the payment agreed between the MLB Club and the FCB player in his contract, which will be paid directly by the MLB Club to the FCB player.
- Released FCB players will be scouted and hired in Cuba by the MLB Clubs, and will travel to the United States or Canada (accordingly) to perform services to their MLB clubs under a standard work visa. A former FCB player signed by a MLB Club may return to Cuba during the off-season period and may, with the consent of his MLB Club, play in off-season tournaments or leagues held in Cuba.
- FCB players may choose to be represented by an agent or baseball player representative when negotiating a contract with a MLB Club.
- Any dispute between the MLB and the FCB will be resolved through neutral arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce.
- The Agreement will expire on October 31, 2021, unless extended by mutual agreement.