List of baseball players who defected from Cuba

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Orlando "El Duque" Hernández defected from Cuba in 1997

This is a list of notable Cuban baseball players who have defected since the beginning of Fidel Castro's presidency. Prior to the Cuban Revolution, which saw Castro rise to power in 1959, Cuban-born players often played in the American Negro Leagues and in Major League Baseball (MLB). Following the revolution, U.S.-Cuba relations became strained, and Castro ended professional baseball in Cuba[1] and forbade Cuban players to play abroad.[2]

Some players defected during the Cold War. Rogelio Álvarez, who debuted in MLB in 1960, was barred from continuing his professional career in the United States, and defected from Cuba through Mexico in 1963.[3] Bárbaro Garbey left Cuba in the Mariel boatlift in 1980.[1] After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba's economy struggled sternly and faced severer repercussions from those originated from the Embargo.[2] Baseball players began to seek careers in MLB due to the high salaries. In 1991, René Arocha defected. He was followed by Rey Ordóñez in 1993. Rolando Arrojo defected during the 1996 Summer Olympics, which were held in the United States.[4] The Cuban government treats attempted defectors as disloyal, which led to increased defections. Orlando Hernández was loyal to Cuba, until they banned him from the national team following the defection of his half-brother, Liván.[5]

Players attempting to play in MLB often choose not to defect to the United States, because establishing residency in the United States means they must enter the MLB Draft. If they defect to another nation, they can become free agents, allowing them to choose their offer.[6] The largest contract given to a Cuban defector is outfielder Rusney Castillo's seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, signed in 2014, worth $72.5 million.[7] First baseman José Dariel Abreu signed a six-year contract worth $68 million with the Chicago White Sox in 2013.[8] The largest contract given to a pitcher was the $32 million the New York Yankees gave to José Contreras in 2002,[9] while the Cincinnati Reds signed Aroldis Chapman for $30.25 million in 2010.[10]

While some players who defect succeed in obtaining multimillion-dollar contracts to play in MLB, many receive only minor league contracts and do not reach MLB.[2] Players are often separated from their families,[11] as Cuba often denies exit visas to the families of players who defected. This can lead to severed relationships, such as between Jorge Toca and the mother of his son.[5]

List[edit]

Key
dagger MLB All-Star
double-dagger Denotes player who is still active
Defectors
Player Position Year defected MLB debut MLB seasons Ref
Abreu, JoséJosé Abreudagger First baseman 2013 March 31, 2014 4double-dagger [12]
Abreu, MichelMichel Abreu Outfielder 2004 [13]
Álvarez, DarielDariel Álvarez Outfielder 2012 August 28, 2015 2double-dagger [14]
Álvarez, RogelioRogelio Álvarez First baseman 1963 September 18, 1960 2 [3]
Ametller, JesúsJesús Ametller Second baseman 1996 [15]
Anderson, LeslieLeslie Anderson Outfielder 2010 [16]
Arocha, RenéRené Arocha Pitcher 1991 April 9, 1993 4 [5]
Argüelles, NoelNoel Argüelles Pitcher 2008 [17]
Arruebarrena, ErisbelErisbel Arruebarrena Shortstop 2013 May 23, 2014 1double-dagger [18]
Arrojo, RolandoRolando Arrojodagger Pitcher 1996 April 1, 1998 5 [4]
Báez, DanysDanys Báezdagger Pitcher 1999 May 13, 2001 10 [19]
Baldoquin, RobertoRoberto Baldoquin Second baseman 2014 [20]
Bell, AlexeiAlexei Bell Outfielder 2016
Bello, YenierYenier Bello Catcher 2013 [21]
Betancourt, YunieskyYuniesky Betancourt Shortstop 2003 July 28, 2005 9 [22]
Bueno, FrancisleyFrancisley Bueno Pitcher 2004 August 13, 2008 2 [2]
Cañizares, BárbaroBárbaro Cañizares First baseman 2004 June 11, 2009 1 [23]
Carbonell, DanielDaniel Carbonell Outfielder 2013 [24]
Castillo, AlbertoAlberto Castillo Pitcher 1993 July 8, 2008 4 [25]
Castillo, DiosdanyDiosdany Castillo Pitcher 2014 [26]
Castillo, RusneyRusney Castillo Outfielder 2013 September 17, 2014 2double-dagger [27]
Cazana, AmauryAmaury Cazana Outfielder 2005 [28]
Céspedes, YoenisYoenis Céspedesdagger Outfielder 2011 March 28, 2012 6double-dagger [29]
Chapman, AroldisAroldis Chapmandagger Pitcher 2009 August 31, 2010 8double-dagger [11]
Colina, RobertoRoberto Colina First baseman 1996 [5]
Concepción, GerardoGerardo Concepción Pitcher 2011 June 21, 2016 1 [30]
Contreras, JoséJosé Contrerasdagger Pitcher 2002 March 31, 2003 11double-dagger [9]
Cuesta, JozzenJozzen Cuesta First baseman 2013 [31]
Despaigne, OdrisamerOdrisamer Despaigne Pitcher 2013 June 23, 2014 2double-dagger [32]
Díaz, AledmysAledmys Díaz Shortstop 2012 April 5, 2016 [14]
Díaz, JuanJuan Díaz First baseman 1995 June 12, 2002 1 [33]
Díaz, YandyYandy Díaz Third baseman 2013 April 3, 2017 1 [34]
Elías, RoenisRoenis Elías Pitcher 2010 April 3, 2014 4double-dagger [35]
Escobar, YunelYunel Escobar Shortstop 2004 June 2, 2007 11double-dagger [36]
Fernández, JoséJosé Fernándezdagger Pitcher 2008 April 7, 2013 4 [37]
Miguel Fernández, JoséJosé Miguel Fernández Infielder 2015
Fernández, OsvaldoOsvaldo Fernández Pitcher 1995 April 5, 1996 4 [38]
Garbey, BárbaroBárbaro Garbey First baseman 1980 April 3, 1984 3 [1]
García, AdonisAdonis García Outfielder 2011 May 19, 2015 3double-dagger [39]
García, José AdolisJosé Adolis García Outfielder 2016 [40]
Gómez, YasserYasser Gómez Outfielder 2008 [41]
González, Miguel AlfredoMiguel Alfredo González Pitcher 2013 September 3, 2014 1double-dagger [42]
Gurriel Jr., LourdesLourdes Gurriel Jr. Infielder 2016 [43]
Gurriel, YulieskiYulieski Gurriel Infielder 2016 August 21, 2016 2double-dagger [43]
Guerrero, AlexAlex Guerrero Shortstop 2013 March 22, 2014 2double-dagger [44]
Gutiérrez, VladimirVladimir Gutiérrez Pitcher 2015 [45]
Hechavarria, AdeinyAdeiny Hechavarria Shortstop 2009 August 4, 2012 6double-dagger [46]
Hernández, AdriánAdrián Hernández Pitcher 2000 April 21, 2001 3 [47]
Hernández, LivánLiván Hernándezdagger Pitcher 1995 September 24, 1996 17 [48]
Hernández, MichelMichel Hernández Catcher 1996 September 6, 2003 3 [15]
Hernández, OrlandoOrlando Hernández Pitcher 1997 June 3, 1998 9 [49]
Herrera, YoslanYoslan Herrera Pitcher 2005 July 12, 2008 2double-dagger [50]
Hinojosa, DalierDalier Hinojosa Pitcher 2013 May 3, 2015 2double-dagger [51]
Ibáñez, AndyAndy Ibáñez Second baseman 2014 [52]
Iglesias, JoséJosé Iglesias Shortstop 2008 May 8, 2011 7double-dagger [17]
Iglesias, RaiselRaisel Iglesias Pitcher 2013 April 12, 2015 3double-dagger [53]
Izquierdo, HanselHansel Izquierdo Pitcher 1994 April 21, 2002 1 [54]
Lazo, RaudelRaudel Lazo Pitcher 2011 September 5, 2015 [55]
Martí, YadelYadel Martí Pitcher 2008 [41]
Martín, LeonysLeonys Martín Outfielder 2010 September 2, 2011 7double-dagger [56]
Maya, YuneskyYunesky Maya Pitcher 2009 September 7, 2010 3double-dagger [57]
Miranda, JuanJuan Miranda First baseman 2005 September 18, 2008 4 [58]
Moncada, YoanYoan Moncada Infielder 2014 September 2, 2016 1double-dagger [59]
Morales, AndyAndy Morales Third baseman 2000 [60]
Morales, KendrysKendrys Morales First baseman 2004 May 23, 2006 10double-dagger [61]
Morejón, AdrianAdrian Morejón Pitcher 2015 [62]
Mujica, YadilYadil Mujica Shortstop 2009 [63]
Núñez, VladimirVladimir Núñez Pitcher 1995 September 11, 1998 9 [64]
Olivera, HéctorHéctor Olivera Second baseman 2014 September 1, 2015 1double-dagger [65][66]
Oña, JorgeJorge Oña Outfielder 2015 [67]
Ordóñez, ReyRey Ordóñez Shortstop 1993 April 1, 1996 9 [5]
Oropesa, EddieEddie Oropesa Pitcher 1993 April 2, 2001 4 [68]
Ortega, BillBill Ortega Outfielder 1996 September 7, 2001 1 [15]
Peña, BrayanBrayan Peña Catcher 1999 May 23, 2005 13double-dagger [36]
Peña, HassanHassan Peña Pitcher 2005 [69]
Pérez, OrlandoOrlando Pérez Infielder 2013 [24]
Prieto, ArielAriel Prieto Pitcher 1995 July 2, 1995 7 [70]
Puig, YasielYasiel Puigdagger Outfielder 2012 June 3, 2013 5double-dagger [71]
Ramírez, AlexeiAlexei Ramírezdagger Shortstop 2007 March 31, 2008 8double-dagger [72]
Ramírez, Roberto CarlosRoberto Carlos Ramírez Shortstop 2011 [72]
Rivas, VictorVictor Rivas First baseman 2013 [73]
Rodríguez, EddyEddy Rodríguez Catcher 1993 August 2, 2012 1double-dagger [74]
Rodríguez, LarryLarry Rodríguez Pitcher 1995 [64]
Rodriguez, Omar LuisOmar Luis Rodriguez Pitcher 2012 [75]
Rojas, EuclidesEuclides Rojas Pitcher 1994 [70]
Ruiz, José JulioJosé Julio Ruiz First baseman 2009 [76]
Sánchez, AlexAlex Sánchez Outfielder 1994 June 15, 2001 7 [77]
Sanit, AmauriAmauri Sanit Pitcher 2006 May 12, 2011 1 [78]
Serrano, Juan YasserJuan Yasser Serrano Pitcher 2009 [79]
Siverio, MisaelMisael Siverio Pitcher 2013 [80]
Soler, AlayAlay Soler Pitcher 2003 May 24, 2006 1 [81]
Soler, JorgeJorge Soler Outfielder 2011 August 27, 2014 4double-dagger [82]
Suárez, DeinisDeinis Suárez Pitcher 2009 [83]
Tejera, MichaelMichael Tejera Pitcher 1994 September 8, 1999 5 [54]
Toca, JorgeJorge Toca First baseman 1998 September 12, 1999 3 [5][84]
Tomás, YasmanyYasmany Tomás Outfielder 2014 April 4, 2015 3double-dagger [85]
Urrutia, HenryHenry Urrutia Outfielder 2011 July 20, 2013 2double-dagger [86]
Valdés, RaúlRaúl Valdés Pitcher 2003 April 11, 2010 5double-dagger [87]
Viciedo, DayánDayán Viciedo Outfielder 2008 June 20, 2010 5double-dagger [88]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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