MLB Bans Players From Playing in Venezuela Following Trump Embargo Order

Winter ball in Venezuela is out as an option for players in MLB

MLB Bans Players From Playing in Venezuela Following Trump Embargo Order
President Donald J. Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / August 23, 2019 11:01 am

Playing winter ball in Venezuela is no longer an option for players in Major League Baseball.

Following an executive order from President Trump freezing all assets from the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, MLB officials have banned all players in both the major and minors from participating in the Venezuela winter league this season, according to ESPN.

“MLB has been in contact with the relevant government agencies regarding the Executive Order issued by President Trump on Venezuela,” the league said in a statement. “MLB will fully adhere to the policies implemented by our government. With respect to the Venezuela Winter League, MLB will suspend its involvement in that league until it receives direction from the relevant agencies that participation by affiliated players is consistent with the Executive Order.”

Without MLB players in the lineup, the level of competition in the winter league is sure to drop.

“The sanctions are not going to topple the government. It’s just we the people that suffer,” José Martinez, a lifelong fan of the league, told The Wall Street Journal. “Every kid here dreams of reaching the major leagues. A prohibition on Venezuela means we’re finished.”

Though they’ll be banned from playing baseball, the 100 or so Venezuelan players spread throughout MLB won’t be banned from returning to their home country in the offseason.

Outside of the Dominican Republic, no foreign country has produced more MLB players than Venezuela. However, the trickle of MLB players from the country has slowed in recent years as pro teams have shuttered their academies in Venezuela and rarely send scouts there.

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