02.12.05

Players Association Suspends Cubas

Posted in Baseball at 2:43 pm by

At the risk of just being a bullet-point edition of the Sporting News, here’s another item from another source that is far less interesting than reading about a conversation with Rob Sheffield.

From the Miami Herald’s Kevin Baxter :

Joe Cubas, the Miami sports agent who helped nearly a dozen baseball players defect from Cuba and sign multimillion dollar contracts with major-league teams, has been suspended by the players’ association following a dispute with his latest client, New York Mets pitcher Alay Soler.

According to three baseball sources who independently confirmed the information on condition their names not be used, shortly after Cubas negotiated a three-year, $2.8 million contract for the 25-year-old right-hander last summer, he confiscated Soler’s immigration documents and refused to return them until the player paid money the agent said was owed him. Soler disputed the claim, saying Cubas was asking for 15 percent commission — more than three times the normal rate, and contacted the union, which sided with Soler.

The union, which must certify agents before they can negotiate contracts, sent Cubas a disciplinary letter and ordered him to return Soler’s paperwork. Cubas must then serve a 30-day suspension before he can represent players again.

The Mets had hoped to have Soler, who wound up in the Dominican Republic after fleeing Cuba with three others in November 2003, in their instructional league camp last September, then in the Arizona Fall League in October. But the paperwork problems prevented him from getting a visa. The Mets now are hopeful Soler (above), who went 10-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 18 games with the Cuban national team, will participate in spring training, which begins next week.

Cubas, 44, did not return calls seeking comment; Soler could not be reached. The union and the Mets also declined comment.

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