Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

OFAC Disapproves Cuba/Major League Baseball Agreement

Monday, April 8th, 2019

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has ruled the agreement between Cuba and major league baseball can not be implemented. Any payments made to the Cuban Baseball Federation as a percentage of the payment made to a player is in essence a payment to the government and is illegal. The law as it applies to Cuba prevents any agency, organization or individual from compensating the Cuban government.

So it is back to the current form of free agency, where Cuban players arrange with smugglers to get them out of the country and into another country where they can negotiate with major league teams for their contracts. In the past Cuban players have found themselves in dangerous situations when smuggled out of the country.

34 Cubans Allowed to Play Major League Baseball

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

To make the defections of Cuban baseball players more humane, major league baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation have agreed to the following: 1) All players older than 25 years old with more than six years of service time would be eligible to negotiate with a major league baseball team and 2) The Cuba Baseball Federation would provide major league baseball with the names of younger players eligible to sign with major league baseball teams. The Cuban Baseball Federation would get a release fee for any signed player, similar to what exists in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Korean Baseball Organization and the China Professional Baseball League.

Below are a list of 34 names Cuba has said are free to sign with a major league baseball team.

1. Alfredo Fadraga Perez C, 19 (Ciego de Avila)
2. Ariel Martinez Marrero C, 22 (Matanzas)
3. Daniel Perez Perez Inf. 22 (Cienfuegos)
4. Cesar Prieto Hechevarria inf. 19 (Cienfuegos)
5. Andres Hernandez Diaz Inf. 22 (La Habana)
6. Norel Gonzalez Beltran Inf. 24 (Villa Clara)
7. Oscar Luis Colas Leon Inf. 19 (Santiago de Cuba)
8. Guillermo Garcia Garcia Inf. 18 (Granma)
9. Narde Yadan Cruz Calderin Inf. 18 (La. Habana)
10. Loidell Chapelli Zuleta INF. 17 (Camaguey)
11. Ricardo Ramos La O Inf. 22 (Santiago de Cuba)
12. Felix Javier Rodriguez Garcia, 20 inf, (Cienfuegos)
13. Geyser Cepeda Lima OF 21 (Sancti Spiritus)
14. Yoelkis Cespedes Maceo OF 20 (Granma
15. Sergio Bartelemi Correoso OF 23 Santiago de Cuba
16. Yoelquis Guibert Pelegrin OF 23 Santiago de Cuba
17. Maykel Yordan Garcia Molina OF 17 Las Tunas
18. Carlos Emilio Pelegrin Martinez OF 18 Pinar del Rio
19. Leonel Moas Acebedo OF 22 Camaguey
20. Livan Moinelo Pita LHP 22 Pinar del Rio
21. Raidel Martinez Perez RHP 21 Pinar del Rio
22. Andy Amaury Rodriguez Valdez RHP 19 La Habana
23. Yandi Molina Berrios RHP 19 La Habana
24. Alyanser Alvarez del Sol RHP 18 (Mayabeque)
25. Diosbel Napoles Rengifo RHP 21 (Mayabeque)
26. Pabel Hernandez Bruces RHP 21 (La Habana)
27. Pablo Luis Guillen Diaz RHP 20 (Villa Clara)
28. Daniel Conde Gonzelez RHP 23 (Villa Clara)
29. Yosimar Cousin La Rosa RHP 20 (Camaguay)
30. Rafael Sanchez Thorpe RHP 19 (Holquin)
31. Carlos Font Mustelier LHP 22 (Santiago de Cuba)
32. Norge Carlos Vera Aldana RHP 18 (Santiago de Cuba
33. Raidmon Figueredo Cruz RHP 18 (La Habana)
34. Yeudis Reyes Gamboa RHP 23 (Guantanamo)

Dominican Republic Still Leads in Foreign Major Leaguers

Monday, April 1st, 2019

According to a major league baseball press release there are 251 foreign players from 20 different countries or areas who appear on 25 man major league rosters, or are on restricted or disabled lists. That accounts for 28.5% of the players. The Dominican Republic again leads in the most major league players outside the 50 United States. Below is a breakdown of where all those foreign players are from;

1. Dominican Republic (102)
2. Venezuela (68)
3. Cuba (19)
4. Puerto Rico (18)
5. Mexico (8)
6. Japan (6)
7. Canada (6)
8. Curacao (5)
9. South Korea (5)
10. Colombia (4)
11. Aruba (1)
12. Australia (1)
13. Brazil (1)
14. Germany (1)
15. Lithuania (1)
16. Netherlands (1)
17. Nicaragua (1)
18. Panama (1)
19. Taiwan (1)
20. U.S. Virgin Islands (1)

Teams Announced for 12 and Under World Cup

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) 12 and under World Cup will be played in Tainan City from July 26 to August 4. Tainan City will be hosting the 12 and under until 2027, holding the next five events. They will be the Williamsburg of the WBSC. Fiji is the one interesting new player in this tournament. Taiwan won this event in 2011, the first year it was played, but the United States did not participate in that tournament. The last three events the United States has won the championship. Below are the groupings for the tournament.

Group A

Taiwan, Japan, Czech Republic, South Africa, Cuba and Fiji

Group B

United States, Mexico, Korea, Australia, Venezuela and Italy

Myworld Series del Caribe Team

Monday, February 11th, 2019

It is tough to come up with an All Star team of Series del Caribe players when you did not actually watch them play. Most of this assessment will be based on stats and what the player accomplished in the box score. Below are the players that made myworld’s All Star Series del Caribe Team.

Catcher - Wilken Castillo (Dominican Republic) .571 average, 4 RBIs and a 1.557 OPS

First Base - Victor Mendoza (Mexico) .375 average, .563 slugging, 5 RBIs with one homerun and a .938 OPS

Second Base - Elmer Reyes (Panama) .368 average, .632 slugging, 1.000 OPS, 5 RBIs with one homerun

Shortstop - Javy Guerra (Panama) .389 average, .722 slugging, 3 doubles and one homerun, 3 RBIs and 1.111 OPS

Third Base - David Vidal (Puerto Rico) .385 average, .529 OBA, .991 OPS

Utility - Allen Cordoba (Panama) .389 average and .450 OBA

Outfield - Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba) - .350 average, 5 RBIs
Outfield - Jilton Calderon (Panama) - .273 average, .455 slugging
Outfield - Yuniesky Larduet (Cuba) - .273 average, 4 runs scored

Starting Pitcher - Harold Arauz (Panama) 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 10 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Lazaro Blanco (Cuba) 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Cortes (Dominican Republic), 1-0, 1.80 ERA 5 innings pitched, one hit allowed

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Molina (Venezuela) 1-0, 0,00 5 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Luis Mateo (Panama) 0-0, 0.00, 7 innings pitched

Relief - Manny Corpas (Panama) 0-0, 2.25, 4 saves

Relief - Jumbo Diaz (Dominican Republic) 1-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Raidel Martinez (Cuba) 0-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Sergio Romo (Mexico) 1-0, 0.00

Panama Wins the Series del Caribe

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Panama has not won the Series del Caribe since 1950, but that is not their fault. When the Series del Caribe was first formed in 1949 they were one of the original teams who participated in the event. That ended in 1960 after Fidel Castro over ran Cuba and for ten years there was no Series del Caribe. It restarted in 1970 but Panama was not included in that new group. It was felt they were not talented enough.

The talent level for the Series del Caribe has dwindled down to the AA level at best. In years past you would have Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays play in the event. It was always to earn a few extra bucks. Now the ballplayers make too much in the major leagues to take a risk of injury, jeopardizing million dollar contracts. The talent in Panama has caught up to the Series del Caribe, or more accurately the Series del Caribe talent level has dropped down to the level in Panama.

Panama was only allowed to play because the original host Venezuela continues to struggle with upheavals and it was felt to hold the tournament there was not safe. It was the second year in a row the tournament was to be held in Venezuela and the second year it had to be moved because of violence. Last year Mexico agreed to host it at the last minute. They did want to bail out the Series del Caribe again. So it was either Panama or cancel the series. And to make it attractive to Panama they agreed to let the champions of the Panama League participate in the series.

Panama qualified for the championship by winning their pool. Cuba, despite their lack of offense won the tie breaker in their pool to face Panama in the championship. Cuba was only recently allowed to return to the Series del Caribe, but that was when they could produce name players that could attract a fan base. Most of those name players are in the major leagues now and the Cuban team is just a shell of its former self.

That shell failed to generate any offense again as Panama won the championship game 3-1. Harold Arauz silenced the Cuban bats for one run in five innings. Panama’s staunch bullpen then went to work to shut out the Cuban bats for the final four innings, Manny Corpas pitching the final inning for his fourth save of the tournament.

Panama got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Allan Cordoba and Elmer Reyes RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. Cuba showed a little life in the fifth on a Alfredo Despaigne double and a Carlos Benitez single to cut the lead to 2-1. An Elmer Reyes throwing error put runners on second and third with two outs but Daniel Castro popped out to first to end the threat. Cuba got only two hits after that, one of them a bunt single.

Panama scored another run in the seventh on a Rodrigo Vigil RBI single. With a runner on second and two out in the ninth Alfredo Despaigne came up to represent the tying run. He flied out to center to end the game.

Myworld will put together our all Caribe team later tonight.

Cuba to Play Panama in Series del Caribe Finals

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Cuba won when they had to beating Venezuela 3-0 on the last day to send their bracket into a three way tie with all three teams tied at 2-2. Run differential allowed Cuba to advance. Lazaro Blanco, who won the opener for Cuba pitched brilliantly again with five shutout innings to shut down the Venezuelan offense. Four different relievers shut out the Venezuelans the rest of the way with Raidel Martinez pitching the ninth to pick up the save.

Alfredo Despaigne was again the big bat for Cuba, sometimes the only bat. His RBI single in the bottom of the third drove in the first run for Cuba. A bases loaded walk to Carlos Benitez scored Despaigne for the second run of the inning. It was the last of three consecutive walks by Venezuelan pitchers. Cuba added another run in the sixth on a throwing error by the catcher after Yuniesky Larduet stole third. Larduet had scored the first run in the third inning after leading off with a single.

Cuba advancing was a surprise the way their listless offense could not get anything going but Panama advancing to the finals was the real shocker. The Puerto Ricans, the two time champions ironically were the only team eliminated from advancing to the finals on the last day and they appeared to play like it.

They collected just five hits as Oriel Caicedo limited them to just three in his 5.1 innings of work. Manny Corpas pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his third save. The only run scored in the fourth inning on a throwing error by Alexis Pantoja trying to turn a double play.

Rey Fuentes came to play getting three of the five Puerto Rican hits. Adelberto Flores pitched 6.1 solid innings but gave up the one unearned run.

So Cuba and Panama advance to the finals.

Series Del Caribe will Crown a New Champion

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Junior Lake hit a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Dominican Republic to a 5-4 win over Puerto Rico. For Puerto Rico they dropped to 0-3 ending any hope they would win a third consecutive Series del Caribe championship. The Dominican Republic improved to 2-1 but must beat Panama to stay alive for the championship match.

Anuery Taveras had tied the game for the Dominican Republic in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single. Jumbo Diaz got the win by pitching a scoreless ninth, though he did put two runners on with a walk and single. Diego Goris drove in the first Dominican run leading off the fourth with a homerun.

Puerto Rico had opportunities to score but stranded 14 runners on base. They left two runners on in the first, fourth, eighth and ninth and left the bases loaded in the fifth. They can still be spoilers with their final game against Panama.

The day game went 11 innings with Mexico virtually eliminating Cuba 3-2. In their previous loss the Cubans lost when the leadoff batter got on via an error. The misplays continued after Cuban native Dariel Alvarez struck out but reached first when the ball got past the catcher. Ramon Rios drove in Alvarez with a single.

Cuba went out meekly in the bottom of the 11th. They have had trouble generating any offense, collecting only six hits in 11 innings against the Mexican pitchers. The only two runs they scored were in the first inning on a Frederich Cepeda double and an Alfredo Despaigne double. Despaigne has driven in five of the six runs the Cubans have scored.

Mexico scored their first run on a wild pitch in the first inning. In the sixth Victor Mendoza tied the game with an RBI single. Sergio Romo retired all eight hitters he faced to get the victory, three of them by strikeouts.

For Cuba Yordanis Samon got three of the six hits for Cuba but they did not result in any runs.

The big game will pit Dominican Republic against Panama. A win by Panama would clinch their spot in the finals. Their final match is against winless Puerto Rico who they had beaten earlier. A loss to Puerto Rico would still leave them 3-1 with two victories against the Dominican Republic should they win today.

Venezuela can clinch their spot in the championship with a win over Mexico today. A loss to Mexico could result in a three way tie should Cuba beat Venezuela on the final day.

Venezuela Stays Alive and Panama Continues to Roll

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

The Cuban bats had trouble against Wilfredo Boscan, accumulating just three hits in his 6.2 innings of work as Venezuela won the pitcher’s duel 1-0. Three different relievers continued the shutout of the Cuban bats with Pedro Rodriguez getting the final three outs to pick up the save. Cuba got six strong innings from their veteran Freddy Alvarez, probably the best pitcher in Cuba not in the major leagues but the anemic Cuban bats failed to support his effort.

The two teams traded zeros for the first six innings. Cuba put runners on first and third with two outs in the second but failed to score. Venezuela perched runners on first and second with just one out but a double play ended that threat. The lone run scored in the seventh when Alexander Ayala booted a ground ball hit by Cuban native Rangel Ravelo. The Cubans chose to replace Alvarez with Yoennis Yera and he walked Luis Jimenez. Livan Moinelo replaced Yera. Juniel Querecuto, who grounded into a double play with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth chose to bunt and advanced the runners to second and third. Alejandro de Aza hit a ball deep enough in the outfield to score Rangel for the only run of the game.

Cuba never mounted a threat after that with their last six batters failing to reach base. Alfredo Despaigne, the hero of the game yesterday lined a shot into centerfield but it was caught by de Aza.

Panama continued to surprise rocking the two time defending champ Puerto Rico 8-7. They scored seven runs in the final two frames to pull out the game. Puerto Rico still rallied for one run in the bottom of the ninth but left the tying run stranded at first. Manny Corpas got the last three outs to pick up the save.

The big hit for Panama was a two run two out double by Jilton Calderon that gave Panama a 7-6 lead in the ninth. Allen Cordoba added an insurance run with his RBI single into left field.

The game changing moment for Panama is when they scored four runs after the first two hitters were retired in the eighth. Elmer Reyes had a two run single with the bases loaded and Javy Guerra had another big hit with a two run double that pulled Panama to within one.

Puerto Rico had a well pitched game from Ivan Maldanado, who only allowed one run in his six innings of work. The bullpen had trouble retiring Panama hitters with four different relievers coming in to pitch, all coughing up runs in less than an inning of work each. With the scored tied 1-1 after five Puerto Rico seemed to have pulled away, scoring five runs in the next two innings. At 0-2 their hopes of a three peat appears slim.

Panama with the Big Upset in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The Series del Caribe has considered expanding the tournament to other countries, but one of the concerns is these other countries (Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua) would not be competitive. Panama proved this notion not so true with their 4-2 upset of the Dominican Republic last night, a day after Panama native and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch to open the tournament. The loss dropped the Dominicans to 1-1 while Panama sits atop their division at 1-0.

Panama starter Harold Arauz shutout the Dominican bats for the first five innings, allowing just three hits. The 23 year old Panama native played for Toros del Este in the Dominican League this past winter. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2019.

Panama scored first in the second inning on a homerun from Padres shortstop prospect Javy Guerra. He scored the second run in the fourth after reaching on a single and scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Jonathan Galvez.

When Panama took out Arauz the Dominican bats were relieved. In the top of the sixth Severino Gonzalez put two runners on via a walk and an infield single. Edwin Espinal drove them both in with a single to tie the game at 2-2. The Dominicans appeared to have woken from their slumber.

The Panama bullpen, especially the smallish 5′9″ Andy Otero made sure that did not happen. Otero shut down the Dominican bats for two innings. That gave the Panama bats another opportunity to take the lead. A hit by pitch, bunt and wild pitch by Jhan Marinez put a runner on third with just one out. Rodrigo Orozco grounded a single up the middle to break a 2-2 tie. Gerald Chin added another RBI single to put up an insurance run and give Panama a 4-2 lead.

Manny Corpas came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning to complete the upset.

Cuba chose not to play in the port tournament in the Netherlands this July because they stated they felt they could not field a competitive team. For their opener in the Series del Caribe they relied on the seven shutout innings from veteran Lazaro Blanco to defeat Mexico 3-1. For Mexico it was their second loss of the tournament, diminishing any chances they have for appearing in the final.

Cuban veteran Alfredo Despaigne drove in all three runs for Cuba. He had a two run single in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. Despaigne is one of the few Cuban superstars who did not defect to the major leagues. He was a teammate of Yoenis Cespedes in Cuba and considered the better player with more power than Cespedes. His defense in left field is a bit suspect. At 32 years of age he may be too late for the major leagues, though he is now playing in the NPB in Japan.

Mexico rallied in the ninth scraping together three hits to score one run. They had the go ahead run at the plate but Agustin Murillo flied out to right to end the game. Cuban Dariel Alvarez was playing for Mexico.