ORLANDO – The Caribbean Confederation of Professional Baseball (CBPC) and the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s (MLB) office have agreed on the terms of a new “Winter League Agreement,” but the agreement will not be finalized until not be reviewed and approved by the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), the parties told ESPN Digital.
In addition to MLB, MLBPA and CBPC, the agreement is signed by the winter leagues of Mexico (LMP), Puerto Rico (LBPRC) and Venezuela (LVBP). The circuits of Colombia and Panama, which participate in the Caribbean Series as special guests, are not part of the agreement.
“The new Winter Agreement basically covers all the aspects that were contained in the previous ones,” said Dominican lawyer Juan Francisco Puello Herrera, president of the Caribbean Confederation. “The main novelty is that it does not have a set duration, but will be permanent except when it is necessary to review something,” added Puello Herrera.
“Everything is already defined and agreed and now we just wait for the approval of the Peloteros Association,” said Puerto Rican lawyer Jorge Pérez Díaz, who is senior vice president and special counsel for litigation and international affairs for the Major Leagues.
“Right now we are reviewing the agreement with our attorneys. After that, we will know,” said former Puerto Rican pitcher Javier Vazquez, a special assistant to CEO Tony Clark who specializes in international player rights.
The Winter Agreement is the document that regulates relations between organized baseball in the United States and the Caribbean circuits. The last one, which was signed in August 2014, expired almost two years ago, but was renewed by the parties to cover the previous season, as they negotiated amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the Caribbean seasons will not start until October, there are a series of processes that could be delayed due to the absence of the winter agreement, including the start of the application for permits for native and foreign players, which was scheduled for August 15 in the last agreement.
There are also the local reserve rosters that clubs must submit on August 1, and the subsequent list of players who cannot play winter from the beginning because they are eligible for “Extreme Fatigue”, a condition that is reached by injuries or different Cumulus levels of work, depending during the summer.
Most important of all, without a Winter Deal, Caribbean clubs will not be able to use players from the MLB system, whether they play on the big team or their affiliated clubs in the minor leagues.
The winter seasons of Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela will be played between October and January and the champions of each circuit will face each other from January 28 to February 3, 2022 in the Caribbean Series, whose edition number 64 is scheduled to be held at the Quisqueya stadium in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital.