Cuba’s Captain in the World Baseball Classic Signs a Contract With a Japanese Team

Alfredo Despaigne will play the remainder of the season with the SoftBank Falcons of the Japanese League. (Capture/Facebook: Guillermo Rodriguez Hidalgo)
Alfredo Despaigne will play the remainder of the season with the SoftBank Falcons of the Japanese League. (Screen capture/Facebook: Guillermo Rodriguez Hidalgo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 13 June 2023 — The captain of the Cuban team in the last World Baseball Classic, Alfredo Despaigne, formalized his contract with the SoftBank Falcons of the Japanese League (NPB) on Monday. According to the Swing Completo portal, the pre-agreement “was around the figure of 1.5 million dollars,” although the final amount was not disclosed.

In November 2021, the treasurer of the Cuban Federation, Luis Daniel Del Risco, reported that the teams that hire Cuban players must pay 20% of the salary that the athlete receives. Also, according to data from the Gaceta Oficial of 2021, every athlete hired abroad must pay a tax of 4% on what he receives.

Despaigne had said that “he had not planned to return to Japan,” where he spent six years defending the team that has finally hired him again. The agreement is for the rest of the season, the baseball player stressed. “In the years that I was there, we were four consecutive champions, and let’s hope that the fifth crown will be repeated this year,” he told journalist Guillermo Rodriguez Hidalgo.

The signing of the player from Granma, who has 184 home runs in the Japanese Baseball League, took place in the Adolfo Luque Hall of the Latin American stadium and was attended by the president of the Cuban Baseball Federation, Juan Reinaldo Pérez.

This player has a batting average p of .263, with 184 home runs and 545 RBIs. His average of bases obtained among the total number of batting opportunities yields .842, in addition to 786 hits.

Alfredo Despaigne’s best season in the NPB was recorded in 2017, with an average of .262, by connecting with 35 long balls and 103 trailers.

On Monday, the contract of Cuban outfielder Alexey Lumpuy with the American team Chicago Cubs was also made official. A native of Camagüey, age 18, he left the Island a year ago. He is an “explosive” athlete, possessing power in his arm and good throwing speed, said journalist Francys Romero. “He is the 23rd player to sign in the current international period,” the reporter said on his social networks.

The Chicago Cubs also hosted the 19-year-old ambidextrous batter, Eriandys Ramón. This Cuban athlete is part of the wave of abandonment of the country in 2022. He was on the team for the U-15 World Cup in 2018 and was currently part of Ray Castillo’s Academy in the Dominican Republic.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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