Winter League Row: LBPRC Alleges Dominican Teams Tampered, Demands Fines

Dairon Blanco of the Kansas City Royals is one of two players the Liga Roberto Clemente Beisbol Profesional alleges were tampered with by a team from the LIDOM. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The President of the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico, Juan A. Flores Galarza, filed a complaint with Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe president Juan Francisco Puello Herrera alleging tampering by two Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana franchises, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported.

The complaint involves players JC Escarra of Aguilas Cibaenas and Dairon Blanco of Estrellas Orientales. Both were on the reserve list for Leones de Ponce for the upcoming winter league season. This issue resulted in a dispute under the Winter League Agreement and the general regulations of the CBPC. 

According to a report by ESPN Deportes that was translated from Spanish to English, “This requests the CBPC to proceed to fine the Águilas Cibaeñas with at least $50,000 for the benefit of the Leones de Ponce to compensate the team for the economic damages they suffer,” according to the letter sent by Galarza. The damages resulted from losing Escarra to the Aguilas for the 2023-24 season. 

Escarra is on the active roster for Leones de Yucatan in the Baseball Champions League from September 28 to October 1 in Merida, Mexico at Parque Kukulcán Alamo.

Flores stated to ESPN Deportes that the behavior was “unethical” for both of the LIDOM organizations in their negotiations involving Blanco and Escarra. 

Blanco and Escarra are both represented by Carlos Perez and Lissette Carnett of Leona Sports Agency in Miami. 

According to ESPN Deportes, “the Aguilas do not have any information about the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente request. At no time have the Águilas submitted a contract or formality with the player. It may be that the player’s agent has used some informal conversation about the possibility of hiring the player,” said Ángel Ovalles, general manager of Aguilas Cibaenas. 

The LBPRC requested to fine Estrellas Orientales regarding Blanco, although the complaint letter does not specify the amount for violating the regulations and the Winter League Agreement, adding that the alleged ignorance of the rules do not exempt them from compliance which stated in the letter that Estrellas argued in previous communications to the LPBRC and CBPC. 

According to ESPN Deportes, “representatives having the evidence of both documents from September 23 and the 24th that show the two LIDOM teams negotiated contracts in a violating manner to the detriment of Leones de Ponce, since both Blanco and Escarra were labeled as foreign reserves.”

The LBPRC also requested that LIDOM should be sanctioned and stated to ESPN Deportes  “take action and stop the continued piracy practices by some of its franchises,” while urging the Dominican League to assume responsibility for “the unethical behavior that some franchises are carrying out.”

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