The Trump administration won't allow Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation to go forward with a deal that would have allowed Cuban players meeting certain requirements to play in the U.S.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the deal, negotiated under the Obama administration but implemented four months ago, was rejected by the White House, which contended it was an illegal agreement with the Cuban government.
Under the deal, MLB teams could have signed Cuban players who met requirements of age and professional playing service. The players could have brought their families during the season and returned to Cuba in the offseason.
The agreement originally was brokered to allow Cubans to play in the United States without defecting and giving up their citizenship. Players could keep 100 percent of a signing bonus, with the MLB paying 25 percent of that amount to the Cuban Baseball Federation as a release fee.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the cancellation of the agreement is part of the Trump administration's effort to increase pressure on Cuba and Nicaragua for their support of Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela.
"Cuba wants to use baseball players as economic pawns -- selling their rights to Major League Baseball," White House national security adviser John Bolton tweeted Sunday. "America's national pastime should not enable the Cuban regime‘s support for Maduro in Venezuela."
Current major leaguers who came to the United States from Cuba include Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig.