Red Sox catching prospect Daniel Flores has died due to complications during treatment for cancer, the Red Sox announced on Wednesday. According to a tweet from Victor Gomez, translated by Max Wildstein of The Sporting News, Flores was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer.
In a statement, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said, “Everyone at the Red Sox was shocked to hear of Daniel’s tragic passing. To see the life of a young man with so much promise cut short is extremely saddening for all of us. On behalf of the Red Sox organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Daniel’s family.”
Flores, 17, was signed out of Venezuela this past July with a $3.1 million bonus. MLB Pipeline ranked the switch-hitting catcher as the fifth-best prospect in Boston’s system, estimating his arrival in the major leagues for 2022. Scouts praised him for his defense.
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.