From Rafael Rojas of Viva Colorado, a bilingual news source connected to the Denver Post, comes word that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped from his home in Valencia, Venezuela.
There aren’t many more details available at the moment and it might be hard to come by accurate information as this situation plays out, but we’ll pass along whatever we can find as soon as we find it.
Ramos batted .267/.334/.445 with 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 113 games this past season for the Nats. The talented 24-year-old was playing winter ball back in his native country for Tigres de Aragua BBC.
UPDATE, 8:17 PM: According to Venezuela’s El Nacional, Ramos was captured by four gunmen. The kidnappers have not yet contacted the Ramos family to seek a ransom for his release.
UPDATE, 8:37 PM: Venezula’s El Siglo says the kipnapping took place at 7:30 p.m. local time and that Ramos was with his family when captured. He was the only one taken away.
UPDATE, 10:22 PM: The president of Ramos’ Venezuelan team just spoke with the media from Ramos’ home: “Hopefully everything goes well. Prudence and moderation is important. In God’s name.”
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.