Almost two years have passed since 18-year-old Nationals prospect Yewri Guillen died from a brain infection while playing and living at the team’s baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.
Ian Gordon of Mother Jones wrote a lengthy article about Guillen’s life and his death, and how it all relates to the process of MLB teams signing teenagers from foreign countries.
A lot of it is really sad stuff, including the fact that Guillen was refused treatment at a private hospital a week before his death when his family couldn’t afford the admission fee.
And then there’s this, regarding MLB’s insistence that proper health protocols were followed:
There wasn’t a certified athletic trainer, let alone a doctor, to evaluate Guillén at the Nationals’ academy, a spartan training camp with cinder-block dorms. No one from the team accompanied him to Santo Domingo or intervened when he couldn’t get into the Clínica Abreu. (The club didn’t cover the costs of his treatment until after he was admitted to the Cuban-Dominican clinic.) And following Guillén’s death, the club required his parents to sign a release before handing over his signing bonus and life insurance money—a document also stating that they would never sue the team or its employees.
Gordon’s article goes on to detail some of the living conditions teenage prospects like Guillen deal with and how, for the most part, the issues are ignored by MLB and mainstream media. I’m sure MLB’s side of the story is much different, of course, but I definitely think the article is worth reading for a look inside a mostly uncovered part of the baseball world.