The choice between the promise of millions of dollars in America and remaining in Cuba isn't a simple one for many Cuban athletes, writes Dan Le Batard in a piece for ESPN the Magazine. Using the experience of his own parents as an example, Le Batard, a Cuban-American, explains that fleeing Cuba to begin life anew in a foreign country can mean leaving behind one's friends and family forever. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez spent two months in a Cuban prison camp after one failed escape attempt, but he tells Le Batard that his first few lonely months in America were worse. Jose Contreras, another Cuban pitcher, had to attend the funeral of his father via cellphone after defecting.
Let's take a look around the AL and NL East:
- The Marlins' roster is coalescing quickly following the Jeff Baker signing, which may leave just one bench position open, notes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Frisaro says Miami's strategy this offseason was to create as much competition as possible. Jake Marisnick, a promising prospect who struggled in his 2013 debut, appears headed for the minors.
- Orioles baseball operations chief Dan Duquette maintains that he's focused on winning now despite his club's quiet offseason, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. "We've been looking for a veteran starter to bolster our staff all winter, and hopefully we'll be able to sign one," Duquette said in a radio interview this week. "Every pitcher that we are involved in, that we're trying to recruit to come to Baltimore, there's four or five teams on each of these pitchers."
- The Yankees are making upgrades to their minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla., including a cafeteria for players and field refurbishments, reports Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The Yankees have also added to their player development staff, bringing in more scouts and a statistics guru, following a season that saw struggles up and down their farm system.