It is an uncomfortable reality that we somehow have to accept that the phrase “Player X is missing”, in the context of baseball and Cuba, is a potentially exciting thing, rather than a definitely scary, awful thing. To be sure, given the harrows that sometimes accompany the defection process, at any given time, it could actually be both.
Today, Ben Badler reports that star Cuban second baseman Jose Fernandez is currently status “whereabouts unknown.” He hasn’t played in a few days, and his manager essentially says he doesn’t know where Fernandez is. Hopefully there’s nothing terrible afoot, and, historically, when a top Cuban talent goes missing like this, it is usually the case that a defection – or at least a defection attempt – is underway. Given the ballooning salaries for Cuban stars in the States, you can understand why this seems to be happening with greater frequency of late.
Fernandez, 26, is one of the best bats in Cuba, and, if he did defect, he would immediately be the subject of a wave of rumors and intrigue. Query whether the Cubs would be willing to spend huge on another top bat, particularly one in the infield. Even if the Cubs were not interested, as appears to be the case with the current big Cuban name, Yasmany Tomas, Fernandez’s story would still impact the team by way of impacting, well, all teams. When a game-changing talent is suddenly thrust into the pool of available players, it changes things.
This is definitely a story worth following.