starlin castro throwingA bizarre story came out of the Dominican Republic yesterday, first reported by the Tribune, and supplemented by ESPN, among others.

You can read those accounts for the details, but the gist has some $3.6 million of Starlin Castro’s money being seized in the Dominican Republic after a baseball school in the DR sued Castro. The suit is tied to a purported promise Castro’s father made (when Castro was just 15) to pay the school 3% of his future baseball contract(s). Apparently Castro already made certain payments to the school, and he’s retained an attorney to countersue and clear things up.

I didn’t write about the suit yesterday because I wanted to give it a day to see if anything in my head settled, or if anything else was reported. As it stands, I got nothing, and there isn’t much else out there. It’s just bizarre. I don’t believe you can just sign away your kid’s future earnings like that – and if you can, the DR probably needs to fix that.

I suppose the only relevance here is the hope that, whatever the issue, it’s cleared up quickly and with as little unease as possible. It’s a big year ahead for Castro, and he doesn’t need any distractions.

  • Rich

    What’s weird about that Brett, is that document that you signed that gifts me a new BN T-shirt by the amount of tweets and likes I give bleacher nation.

  • Ben (BG2383)

    If you ever find out more details on this incidence I hope to hear them. It seems absurd to think he won’t get this issue resolved to his favor.
    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Luis

    Brett, it doesn’t end there. I’m from the Dominican and I’m hearing that the district attorney is also considering adding an exit restriction from the country until issue is resolved. These things sometimes take a while in the Dominican, as we seen in the past with other cases.

    • Jason P

      That wouldn’t be good.

    • cking6178

      Sounds like a shakedown to me….unfortunately, our laws in the US are not going to help Starlin, so the most likely scenario is Castro “donates” (read: pays off) a large sum of money to the school and DR government to make this issue go away…

      • Pat

        It’s not a shakedown if they agreed to the contract, and 3% doesn’t seem all that bad to me (as noted elsewhere, in some countries it’s upwards of 25%). I don’t know if it’s pre-tax or post-tax earnings, but even if it’s pre-tax that’s about 1.8 million over the first dozen years since he was signed. After DR taxes it would be about 1.3 million, or 130,000 per year.

        That may seem like a lot, but consider that Starlin is probably the only person from there who has hit it big so far, and there was a good chance none of the kids were going to see a sixty million dollar contract and it seems like a relatively fair deal.

        • Scotti

          It IS a shakedown if a father can sign away FUTURE LIFETIME earnings for a 15-y/o. THAT’S NUTS! And the 25% you’ve heard about applies to SIGNING BONUSES. Starlin had a relatively small signing bonus (AND he paid them a percentage of that bonus).

          • Pat

            It’s an agreement they willingly entered into. Most likely it was Starlin’s best, if not only shot at getting drafted. And it was done less than one year before he could legally sign a contract himself. I doubt a few months would have made a difference in his decision.

            A contract is not a shakedown, not even if you use all caps.

            • bbmoney

              He didn’t get drafted.

              • Pat

                Signed as an international free agent, then. Doesn’t change the point at all, but you are correct.

                • bbmoney

                  Wasn’t he 15? His dad can’t sign away his earnings from when he’s an adult. And he can’t when still a minor. It’s silly.

                  • Pat

                    Apparently, his dad can sign that contract. Hence the seizure of funds for non payment. We’re not talking about the US here.

                    • Scotti

                      The funds have been siezed, yes, but that doesn’t mean that a judgement has been handed down.

                      And, as you admit, he was not of legal age to sign anything much less a document giving away a chunk of his LIFETIME earnings. Saying that “Golly, even though he couldn’t personally sign away a portion of his lifetime earnings, it may have been for the best” just doesn’t cut it. He either could our he couldn’t sign it away regardless of how “close” he was.

                      As to whether or not there were other options… There are hundreds of buscones in the DR and it is common to take large cut of the signing bonus but NOT to take any cut of lifetime earnings.

                      The notion that a parent can sign away ANY of a child’s future LIFETIME earnings is so morally bankrupt I would think it beneath any culture.


                    • Scotti

                      “Robert Martinez, one of Castro’s attorneys, said in a phone call from the Dominican Republic that the contract was ‘absurd and illegal … (in large part) because Dominican law prohibits a parent from promising anything from a child beyond 18 years of age.’ ”


                    • Pat

                      The one interesting assertion in that article is that Castro was actually 16 at the time the contract was signed. If true, I would agree the parents should not be able to be involved, since he was of legal contract age and would not have needed them to sign for him.

                      I find it amusing that so many are aghast that a parent could sign away three percent of their child’s future earnings over the period of a decade or two in order to receive some benefit now, when most have done that exact thing in a ballot box repeatedly.

    • commander bob

      I would guess nobody is going anywhere until this matter is settled. The DR is a communist country and they don’t take things like this lightly. Castro is not the brightest light in the house but hopefully his attorney knows that the contract is legit and settles this before this matter gets worse.

      For the geniuses that said that Castro isn’t obligated to pay this since his father signed it when he was 15 I’m guessing that the DR has similar rules in place as the US does about minors signing contracts-they can’t. And you can bet that if his assets were seized that the DR has a solid case and even if they don’t they don’t care.

      And fior the guy who said this won’t hurt Castros reputation….LOL.

      • greenroom

        How exactly is this going to hurt his reputation? People are going to say “omg I can’t believe his dad signed a contract, etc”. And using comments to belittle others on here speaks more to your character, or lack thereof, than any person on here. Grow up

      • fortyonenorth

        The DR isn’t a communist country.

      • Luis

        Communist country?

      • clark addison

        DR is communist? That’s news to me and the rest of the world.

      • mak

        Commander Bob — am I missing something: “For the geniuses that said that Castro isn’t obligated to pay this since his father signed it when he was 15 I’m guessing that the DR has similar rules in place as the US does about minors signing contracts-they can’t.”

        So you are saying that Castro can’y be bound to an agreement as a minor, right?

        Secondly, your assumption that “you can bet that if his assets were seized that the DR has a solid case” is pretty baseless. Again, I’m don’t have a legal degree from the DR, but getting a court order to seize assets, in some jurisdictions, only takes an affidavit (be sure to look up the foreclosure scandal in Florida).

        Finally, again, from a US perspective, one cannot sign away another persons future right to income without a valid contract, which we know Starlin could not sign at age 15. I suppose his dad could sign away his (meaning his dad’s) future rights in Starlin’s earnings (which would be his estate), but then you run into all sorts of issues (could be ripe for the Rule Against Perpetutaties, amiright law school geeks???).

      • hansman

        DR, Cuba, Haiti…they all look the same. Right, amirite bob-o?!

      • frank

        The DR is not a communist country. You cannot assume that the laws in the DR are similar to the laws here. Castro’s lawyer has stated that the contract was illegal because the law in the DR does not allow a parent to sign away a child’s earnings past the age of 18. And you cannot assume that the monies were seized because they have a “solid” case. Assets are seized, even here, to prevent their being moved before everything gets sorted out. It often has nothing to do with the facts of the case at the time.

    • mak

      I don’t know the laws of the DR, but isn’t the entire point of seizing someone’s assets is so you don’t have to hold him in the country? If assets, in the amount of what is claimed by the plaintiff, are held in escrow/by a government agent, then the plaintiff is assured to receive the assets if he wins the case. What would the point be in holding Castro physically in the DR?

      Secondly, if the plaintiff is claiming payment based on a % of what is owed to Castro, and Castro can’t earn from the DR, then the plaintiff would have no interest in keeping him from playing baseball.

      • Internet Random

        “I don’t know the laws of the DR, but isn’t the entire point of seizing someone’s assets is so you don’t have to hold him in the country?”

        It’s more along the lines of preventing fraudulent conveyance… which is why you do your asset-protection planning before you have reason to know of a claim, boys and girls.

  • CubFan Paul

    $3.6M is light to what the Cubans have to promise.

    Cespedes originally agreed to give up 25-35% to his “handlers (E.Mercedes)”. A Dominican court eventually settled the matter but still at like 22%!

    Supposedly Soler has a f’d up story too..

    • FarmerTanColin

      Wow is that for career earnings?

      • CubFan Paul

        The 25-35% was definitely for his $36M contract, I’m not sure about career earnings but in some cases, yes it is a career agreement

    • beerhelps

      You’re right about the cubans, Paul. What we hear may be the tip of the iceberg; kickbacks directly to the Cuban government, human trafficking, etc. A very shady operation for sure.

    • Scotti

      The situation with Cubans and those that help them escape from Cuba is very different than the situation with the kids from the DR and their buscones. The Cubans are, by and large, already ball players. They are also adults. The Cubans give a percentage of their first bonus/contract (they could conceivably sign a contact with zero bonus). The DR kids also give a portion of their first contract–their bonus. It doesn’t go any further than that.

      I have never heard of a minor having his future earnings signed away. That is not SOP for buscones. And, as Castro’s lawyer says, it isn’t legal–even in the DR.

  • Frank

    Happy days. Another distraction for Castro.

  • Cheese Chad

    I read in one of the articles that this could hurt his reputation. Unless I misinterpreted the writer’s message, how could this hurt Castro’s reputation. This was something out of his control and says nothing about his character in my opinion.

  • CubChymyst

    I’m guessing this might be a common practice (the signing away future earnings). If the player is from a poor family and can not pay for the initial cost of the baseball school that type of deal might be struck to get him in. I’d think there be some sort of cap though.

    • cub1

      Agreed. If they determine that this is a void contract, I would think it could have some unintended consequences of academies refusing to take on players from poor families from marginal talents (Castro wasn’t a huge prospect when he was signed). This could lead to a deteriorating of the depth of Dominican prospects. That said, I think this type of arrangement could be better handled if it was properly regulated so the player isn’t taken advantage of while giving the academies an opportunity to earn a fair profit for the risks they take. I don’t know how realistic this would be in the Dominican though. Does anybody have any further insight into this?

    • FFP

      Seems like a good system for all concerned (when the courts are not involved), and I figured the system has a long tradition in the DR and elsewhere. (Thinking of greats like Tony Pena who go back to the ‘old neighborhood’ and help out in good times with ball fields and gloves and in bad times with disaster relief.)

      • FFP

        “gloves and ball fields” doesn’t say what I mean here. I went looking for a link but can’t find it yet, but I remember him personally building and staffing a baseball school for kids in the DR shortly after Pena retired from playing.

  • Spoda17

    I think it’s crazy your father can sign a contract that you are now held too… Bizarre, but seems like it is not that uncommon in certain parts of the world.

    • commander bob

      You think its crazy for a parent to sign for a minor? What planet do you come from?

      • bbmoney

        Sure, but they can’t usually sign contracts that impact the minor once they will no longer be a minor. At least not in the good old USofA.

        Or sign away their child’s future earnings that are predominately earned after they are 18.

        • Pat

          Except that in all but a very few cases, the majority of the money will come from the initial signing bonus when they are 16.

          • bbmoney

            That is true, I guess I was thinking more about Castro specifically. But in general you’re probably right.

            • Pat

              Also, after a quick look the drinking, gambling, and marriage age in the DR is 16 (15 for women to marry). It stands to reason that the legal age to sign a contract is also 16. If it wasn’t, someone like Castro could have voided his contract with the Cubs after his rookie year and declared himself a free agent.

  • Beer Baron

    What I really don’t get is the $3.6million amount. To date he’s earned just a little over $6million so if this is a valid contract he would owe them just $180,000 (plus late payment penalties). Even if the contract requires him to pay the 3% up front for the future value of any signed contract, his $60million deal would still only result in a $1.8 million payment. So why did they seize twice that amount? Something seems fishy.

    • Pat

      They probably just seized all his accounts. 3.6 seems a reasonable amount to have left after taxes and expenditures. He’s made around 12 million so far, after taxes that would leave around 6, minus whatever he has spent/given away.

    • cub2014

      According to an article I read DR law
      requires them to seize twice the disputed
      amount so apparently they claim he owes
      them 1.8mil over the length of the contract.
      Castro team claims they only owe 3% for
      the original contract which has already been
      payed. I think 3% of his original contract seems
      OK but they shouldnt have any right to future
      earnings. That sounds like extortion. I guess
      it depends on what the contract says.

  • mtrlill

    Pretty obvious to see where Castro got his brains or lack there of…

  • since52

    Don’t know what the deal is with the “school.” But if it significantly contributed to SC’s getting signed and becoming a multi-millionaire by 22, what’s the problem with a little payback? Not a fan of #21, but it’s always something with this kid, on or off the field. Last year he looked out of shape and sluggish in the middle of the season. Remember when he was going to “grow into his body” and become a 30 HR 3b? The more you see him, the more average he looks.
    And IMO, average is OK in Starlin’s world.

    This FO needs to think long and hard before it trades Barney for peanuts. Without him, it’s a sieve of an infield.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      “And IMO, average is OK in Starlin’s world.”

      I really find it distateful when people assume they have some read into another person’s private thoughts that they’ve never met and probably have rarely if ever heard speak at length.

      I’m also really getting tired of the variations on the “lazy” label that get placed on certain ballplayers. A consistant theme usdd agaist Latino players. But it’s Soriano then Castro then Soler… we live a world of caricatures.

      • since52

        I find it condescending when someone takes one fragment out of a comment and twists it. No one claimed to read SC’s mind. No one used the word or implied laziness. I said he LOOKED sluggish and out of shape last season. He’s had multiple on and off field incidents which considered objectively, reflect on his maturity and professionalism.

        In this case, he’s speaking through his lawyer(s) and if he has a good one, has been told to keep his mouth shut. As a Cub fan, I don’t give a damn if the guy’s from Mars. I’m interested in performance. Myself and a lot of other Cub fans are also pretty tired…of the half-ass excuses from players, their agents, mgmt., and PR people for years of stunningly lousy results.

        • Matt

          He does have a decent point, even if he did take it to a level it didn’t need to go to. You clearly did imply that Castro was lazy without knowing the real reason behind his shortcomings this past season when you said that average was okay for him. The mental lapses that he did have this past season don’t necessarily prove laziness, but show more of a short attention span, something completely different. The low batting average could be a number of things, from just a horribly prolonged slump to adjusting to trying to change his approach to him actually not caring as much and actually being lazy, or even a number of other things. There is no one single thing that we can point to and say that it was the sure issue with his down season. By calling him lazy it does indicate that you think you know what’s going on in his head when, in actuality, you don’t.

          To be fair here though, by implying that it was race related was going to far. Sure, there are clear patterns with underperforming players when it comes to race. White players are called gritty, but just not talented. Black players are just not fulfilling their potential, and Latin American players are called lazy. However, just because a large group does go by this pattern, it was unfair for him to imply that you were going by this same pattern, although due to those patterns I do see where he was coming from. However, everyone deserves to get some benefit of the doubt, and you were not given that.

          Everyone is tired of the losing. It’s not just the fans. Do you really think the players are happy with it? I don’t know what excuses you’re talking about since everyone’s been pretty forward. Sure, there’s a few red herrings that Theo and Jed have thrown out there, but everyone knows what’s really going on. Rebuilds are not fun, and this is the first true rebuild that Cubs fans have ever actually seen the Cubs go through. We’re all getting the ugly truth as to what they look like. Will it work? We don’t know for sure, but there are a lot of positive signs out there. Unfortunately, we will still have to wait to see how it all turns out for the Cubs for another couple of years. It’s coming closer and closer. With Baez possibly coming up this season, the fruits of the labor will start to show. At least there will be a player whose performance we can eagerly monitor. Not too long after that it’ll be guys like Bryant, Soler, Almora, Johnson, Edwards, Alcantara, and so on. On top of that, we’ll get to see what a more protected Rizzo looks like as well.

          It hasn’t been pretty, but let’s not kid ourselves and think that as fans we’re the only ones who are getting tired of this. Everyone is, nobody likes losing, especially players and management.

          • since52

            You two are a pair to draw three to. You repeat I “imply” something there is no mention of, then you try to state the obvious, mental lapses are not the same as laziness (your terms). The you go to “can’t read someone’s mind and proceed to attempt it with me. In your “defense” of Castro you list several possible reasons for his “shortcomings.” I call your reasons half-ass excuses.
            The same ones I’ve heard for decades. And BTW, his “shortcomings” date back to a good chunk of the season BEFORE as well. If you accept approx. 250 ML games as a “slump,” knock your socks off.

            The main point being, again, no one here is accusing SC of laziness. You call it whatever you like. I’m interested in results. The FO talks about “the Cub Way” baseball down through the entire organization and ‘accountability.’ I take that to mean a player takes the field prepared to play at a championship level on a daily basis. Now you tell me, which of the two middle infielders more closely fit that description.

            What are “the few red herrings Theo and Jed have tossed out” and how are they different from excuses? They threw Sveum under the bus running teams they gave him with no bullpen, Shark developing as a TOR pitcher, three different hitting coaches, signing EJAX and screwing up the first Garza deal. They tried to throw Dempster under the bus when they moved him.
            Now the excuse is Ricketts and money.

            Your “everyone know what’s going on” should read YOU THINK you know what’s going on. The first “true rebuild” in Cub fans’ lifetime. What, are you a five year old? I can think of at least four with varying degrees of success.

            What stopped them all, if the measure is WS? Better teams, period. Like say, Atlanta, then managed by Bobby Cox, who pulled his phenom CF, Andru Jones off the field in THE MIDDLE OF AN INNING for dogging it. You better hope the new regime has the same latitude when the prospects arrive, if you dream of titles in your future. Because you can bet your ass they will compete against professionals who get it. Get it as in it’s a helluva lot harder to stay in the ML than it is to get there.

          • Matt

            Look, I’ve been more than fair and more than civil. No need for you to get out of control here. Contain yourself, please, so this can be discussed like adults instead of adults talking to a screaming teenager.

            You DID imply that Castro was lazy. What else could you have possibly been saying by saying that average is acceptable to him? I mean, seriously, I wasn’t born yesterday, I know exactly what you were saying, and you can try to weasel your way out of it any way you want, but the bottom line is that you said what you said and it’s FAR from unfair for anyone to come to the conclusion that you were calling Castro lazy.

            I call you claiming excuses as just a sign that you are an angry, bitter person just looking for a fight on the internet. A great place to try to fight with someone if you’re looking to actually avoid a face to face confrontation, and from here I’m not going to give you any more of the satisfaction. I realized after reading your first paragraph that you’re not worth any more than that.

  • Fastball

    Time for Starlin to move to another LA country.

    • DCF

      Or maybe just open a US bank account. If the Dominicans seized his money that obviously implies he kept it in the Dominican. If he simply kept his money in a bank account at Chase, this could not have happened.

      • Pat

        True, but currently U.S. accounts pay next to nothing in interest due to artificially suppressed interest rates. My guess is he gets a much better return in the DR

        • Northside Neuman

          Your guess would be wrong.

      • TOOT

        What’s in your wallet? Hope you didn’t shop at Target lately.

  • TOOT

    Castro is done deal. Gone IMO.

    • Bill

      Castro isn’t going anywhere. He’ll be the SS for all of 2014. Theo isn’t selling the guy low, and if he has a bounce back season he stays, unless the Cubs feel Baez is a legitimate option as SS and they have someone ready for 2B (maybe Alcantara). I think Theo/Jed are blowing hot air about Baez and SS to keep his trade value as high as possible. He certainly hasn’t lit the minor league world on fire, so far, with his glove. Given his still high K rate, we’re still not even sure how his bat will translate at the big league level. I don’t see them trading Castro until Baez has proven himself at the big league level.

  • Kevin

    Simple math, $3.6M is 3% of $120M, not $60M. How did they ever come up with that amount? It’s something every year with this kid, no wonder why he loses focus on the field.

    • TOOT

      I think it goes much deeper. From the rape charge nobody would discuss, to what we have today. Not saying he was guilty, but one can’t say the Castro case is bizzaro.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    “From the rape charge”

    He wasn’t charged

    ” nobody would discuss,”

    Everybody discussed it

    “to what we have today”

    Which is a story that seems unfathomable by American legal standards.

    “Not saying he was guilty”

    But you’ll cast aspersions

    ” but one can’t say the Castro case is bizzaro”

    Though the reported facts seem to make little legal sense

  • Rodrick

    3.6m to teach kids how to hit for a .306 OBP

    • CubFan Paul

      Seems reasonable if it can be paid in installments.

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