Already this year Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler have landed $36 million and $30 million contracts after defecting from Cuba and another highly touted player is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that 21-year-old outfielder Yasel Puig defected from Cuba and “is in the process of establishing residency in Mexico.”
Once that happens he’ll be declared a free agent, although as Soler showed recently that process can drag on for a long time. In the meantime he’ll hold a “showcase” for MLB scouts in Mexico.
Puig’s agent, Jaime Torres, is talking him up as a rare combination of youth and experience, as the 6-foot-3 outfielder has played in international competition and Cuba’s top league for several years already.
However, unless Puig is declared a free agent almost immediately it’ll be impossible for him to cash in with the same type of huge contract as Cespedes and Soler thanks to the changes to the collective bargaining agreement that go into effect on July 2. In other words, Torres will be racing the clock while Puig is trying to impress scouts.
Major League Baseball announced today that the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha, Nebraska next year to open the festivities for the College World Series.
The game will be played on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha two days before the first game of the Series. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. Which, um, probably means this will be one of the larger crowds for the Royals next year if the club’s current trajectory continues.
This will be the fourth small-park, special occasion regular season game for Major League Baseball in recent years. hIn July 2016 the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for service members. Last August the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals played in the inaugural Little League Classic, which took place at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There will be a second Little League Classic in Williamsport this August between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.