Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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As it stands, a Major League Baseball team signing a Cuban free agent is no simple task. The player in question has to leave Cuba, whether it's legally or illegally, then establish residency in another country. Then, the United States government has to clear the player to work in that country, and finally, MLB itself can make the player an official free agent that its teams can negotiate with. This whole unblocking process can takes months and months -- for instance, the Gurriel brothers, who left Cuba in early February, might not be eligible to sign in MLB until October or later.
The reason for the hoops to jump through is, of course, the history of relations between Cuba and the United States. The embargo against Cuba means American businesses can't give money to Cuba that could end up in the hands of the Cuban government. Cold War-era relations are warming up of late, though, so MLB is attempting to create a new system that would simplify the path out of Cuba and into free agency.
A non-profit entity would be created, funded by a percentage of the signings of Cuban free agents. This entity would "support youth baseball, education and the improvement of sports facilities in Cuba," which would also successfully keep money out of the hands of the Cuban government while also creating more of a partnership between Cuba, MLB and America than what currently exists. It would also help put a stop to the human trafficking side of Cuban free agency, and the world is in need of any help it can get on that front.
- Whether this fan was protecting the young boy next to him or just looking to catch a souvenir, his actions made sure no one's face was smashed in by an errant bat.
- The joke is that Joe Kelly has great stuff. His stuff isn't all that bad, really, but it's how he uses it that's been the problem.
- Albert Pujols started at designated hitter this weekend, and he's on track to play with the rest of the Angels on Opening Day.
- The White Sox signed Austin Jackson, which at the very least should improve their outfield defense.
- Rusney Castillo hasn't been able to stick on the Red Sox roster yet. How much longer should Boston give him to hit in the majors?
- FanGraphs' projected the World Champion Royals to play pretty poorly in 2016. Jeff Sullivan tried to explain the difference between the projections and Royals' perception.
- Michael Baumann wrote a thing and it'll be easier for you to just read it rather than having it distilled here in bullet point.
- Chase Utley's suspension for his violent takeout slide against Ruben Tejada has reportedly been overturned. Cue weeks of debate about whether the Mets should nail Utley with a fastball the next time they see him.