>> Cuba has produced some of baseball's top stars. Think Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes. Both arriving in the US, not just with a ton of talent, but also with harrowing stories of how they defected from Cuba. But on Wednesday, Major League Baseball and Cuba's Baseball Federation struck a historic deal.
For the first time making it legal for ball players from the communist-run island to sign with US teams without the need to defect. Under the agreement, which took three years to hammer out, MLB teams pay a release fee to a Cuban player's team. That player must be at least 25 years old and have played six years in the Cuban league.
Many baseball players in Cuba with a minimum salary that's $50 per month, have in the past had to rely on smugglers or human traffickers to get to the US. The most famous example being Puig, who defected on a speedboat at age 21. And soon found himself entangled with a Mexican crime organization which threatened to chop off his arm if he failed to pay a $250,000 fee for his passage.
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who also reportedly endured a dangerous journey from Cuba, hailed the deal as, quote, a realization of an impossible dream for all of us.