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MLB wants to simplify Cuban free agency

Monday's Say Hey, Baseball includes a new proposal for Cuban free agency, Joe Kelly's great stuff and Chase Utley's suspension.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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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.