MLB players not allowed to participate in Venezuelan leagues

Latin America Baseball - A Latin America winter league baseball stadium in Maracay Venezuela(Photo By MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images)
Latin America Baseball - A Latin America winter league baseball stadium in Maracay Venezuela(Photo By MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images) /

In accordance with the US Government, no MLB players will be allowed to participate in Venezuelan leagues this year.

In an effort to comply with economic sanctions levied against Venezuela, MLB has issued an order that prohibits MLB players from participating in the Venezuelan baseball league.

To summarize the political situation, the United States no longer recognizes the Presidency of Nicolas Maduro as legitimate.  Instead, the US (and a number of other countries) recognize interim President Juan Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela.

Basically, the US has placed an embargo on the country of Venezuela which presents the US and its citizens from doing business with the country.  This is the same/similar type of sanction that we have in place with North Korea, Cuba, and Iran

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Now, Call To The Pen is a baseball site so if you want reputable opinions on the politics of this development, you should consult these idiots, the other idiots, or America’s finest source of real news (I recommend the 3rd).

The Venezuelan league has been an important way for MLB players, well-known, unknown, and minor leaguers, to get live game ABs during the off-season.  It also gives exposure to the league and scouts who are present can find hidden gems that can potentially produce in the big leagues.  The time in these leagues gets Players quality competition and exposure they might not otherwise get.

The Venezuelan league has featured guys like Yandy Diaz, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jesus Aguilar, Franky Morales, the late Luis Valbuena, and even former MLB players turned coaches like Yorvit Torrealba.

The Legend of La Tortuga, Willians Astudillo, started in the Venezuelan league with this incredible home run that virtually broke the internet in an offseason void of baseball.  Baseball fans will be denied of an international league that is promoted by the MLB.

Native Venezuelans will not be travel banned from going back to their home country to see their families or visit their homes.  You do hope that players who return to their motherland don’t face a Wilson Ramos scenario where they are kidnapped and held for ransom because they are MLB players.  Hopefully, players can hire private security details to prevent such a scenario from ever coming true again.

More than likely, a variety of players will end up playing in a different international league or finding a way to participate against rookie leaguers in the AZL in Arizona or DSL in Florida.  While we will miss out on highlights like Willians Astudillo, ultimately players should be better off playing in a safer environment in Mexico or other leagues.

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International Relations will always provide challenges with Major League Baseball.  So long as the league keeps working with the USG, like in the case of Cuba, MLB will be able to have the best interest for their players to ensure their safety and development.