Three Baseball Players Who Left Cuba Guarantee Their Stay in the U.S. Major Leagues

Alexander Valiente was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays, while Reykelly Rubi received an opportunity with an Orioles affiliate.

Reykelly Rubi at the time of signing his contract with the Orioles / X/@francysromeroFR

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 June 2024 — The baseball players Alexander Valiente and Reykelly Rubi, who left Cuba in search of a better future, have reached initial agreements with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles, respectively. With them are 21 athletes from the Island who have been “hired in the current international period” by Major League teams in the United States, reported journalist Francys Romero.

The Canadian team guaranteed Valiente, 21, a bonus of $75,000 to secure his signing. The contract will be made official on January 15, 2025. This young man was part of the Cuban U-23 team; in 2023 he asked for his leave. “I’ve decided not to play anymore for now. Please don’t ask me for an explanation,” he said at the time.

The Canadian team guaranteed Valiente, 21, a bonus of $75,000 to secure his signing

Romero attributes the departure of these athletes to the fact that baseball on the Island has become “uneven, old and without an audience.” He regrets that what used to be a game “full of brilliance now seems to be an old Development League compared to the world talent.”

Por la Goma, a publication specializing in the sport, which is considered a cultural heritage on the Island, reported last year that the loss of athletes was occurring “daily.” The massive abandonment of players is influenced by the issues of “quality [of life], remuneration and inflation.”

This Wednesday, Reykelly Rubi, who left the Island at the age of 14, received an opportunity with an Orioles affiliate. At age 18 and after a period of training at the Yuan Pino Academy in the Dominican Republic, he is considered by the talent scouts as an “intriguing arm.”

“His curveball was evaluated above the average [between 88 and 90 miles per hour], with an acceptable turning speed, which makes him a promising pitcher for the future of the Baltimore Orioles,” published the magazine Swing Completo.

This week, the 26-year-old Yosver Zulueta’s debut with the Cincinnati Reds also materialized. The athlete from Villa Clara left Cuba in October 2018. After signing with Toronto in 2019 for a million dollars, he had to undergo surgery for a knee injury that kept him away from the playing field for a year.

This week, the debut of 26-year-old Yosver Zulueta with the Cincinnati Reds also materialized

In 2022, he passed through “all levels of the Minor Leagues” to resume the pace of the game, Romero said. “In the winter of 2023 he went to the Dominican Republic with the Leones del Escogido and had a positive experience.”

Last Tuesday Zulueta debuted as part of the Cincinnati team in the Major Leagues with three strikeouts. “He was a bit nervous at first but then showed his weapons: a straight that reached 99 miles per hour and a slider (a throw that drops the ball as it approaches the batter) of 91 miles per hour.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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