MLB players from Cuba allowed to Represent Home Country in WBC

MLB Cuban players
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 World Baseball Classic is approaching fast. Now MLB players from Cuba are allowed to play for their home country.

On Saturday, the Baseball Federation of Cuba (FCB) announced that the United States will allow MLB players from Cuba to play for their home country. Which could prove Cuba to be one of the most dominant teams heading into the WBC. The report was confirmed by the MLB on Monday. The license will clear stars such as Jose Abreu, Yordan Alvarez, Randy Arozarena, Yoan Moncada, and Luis Robert to play for Cuba in the WBC in March if they choose to accept a potential invitation.

Each country has the ability to create its own rosters, and it’s up to the players whether they want to accept or decline the invitation. The Final 30-Man rosters are due Feb 7, with the WBC beginning March 8. Over the years, Baseball has been a dominating sport in Cuba, with talent reaching the highest level of baseball across the globe.

In recent years, many MLB players from Cuba have elected to become US Citizens. The defections are largely due to a not-so-uncommon geopolitical spat between the two seaside neighbors, leaving Cuban players stuck in the middle. Cuban athletes competing on the island can’t earn a paycheck under the communist government, which prohibited professional sports following the Cuban revolution 60 years ago.

The defections have taken a toll on the Cuba National team over the years. Most notably, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where Cuba failed to qualify. In November, Cuba changed its tune and invited several top players who defected to represent the country in the World Baseball Classic, a tournament that features some of the sport’s top players competing in Japan, Taiwan, and the U.S.

Weeks later, Cuban officials accused the Biden administration of blocking those players from representing Cuba. That is no longer the case.

Top MLB Players from Cuba

  • Jose Abreu
  • Yordan Alvarez
  • Yoan Moncada
  • Luis Robert
  • Randy Arozarena
  • Yuli Gurriel
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  • Aroldis Chapman
  • Nestor Cortes
  • Roenis Elias

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