President Donald Trump’s economic embargo against Venezuela is now reportedly spilling into baseball.
The Venezuelan Winter League is one of a number of developmental leagues that minor-league and major-league players play in for extra development during the offseason. It’s never star players, but rather young players looking to improve or veterans looking to re-establish themselves who often take advantage of such winter leagues in hopes of better opportunities for the upcoming MLB season.
However, unless something changes soon between the Trump White House and socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you won’t see any MLB or MILB players there this year.
Earlier this month, President Trump signed an executive order cutting off Venezuela from trade with the U.S. and imposing sanctions on other nations that did business with Venezuela. It’s the same type of treatment the U.S. has given Cuba, North Korea and Iran in the past.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this move by MLB won’t stop Venezuelan players from returning home in the offseason. (Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve and Ronald Acuña Jr. are among the MLB stars from Venezuela). This would just prevent anyone affiliated with an MLB team from playing in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. The league will continue on too, just without MLB players.
Word emerged Wednesday that the U.S. and Venezuela had been secretly negotiating for months, which could mean the government side of this is resolved before the baseball season even starts.
As for players, this could certainly halt the usual cycle of development for players. However, there are other Winter Leagues out there — like the Dominican Winter League, or Mexico’s or Australia’s. It could just leave MLB teams scrambling for alternatives.
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