Bart Hernandez, certified MLBPA agent, has been arrested for human trafficking. The report comes from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports and is directly related to the case of Leonys Martin.
Agent Bart Hernandez has been arrested after being indicted on federal human-trafficking charges. He'll appear in a Miami court today at 2.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 19, 2016
Not much is known about the way Cuban baseball players defect. There are suggestions and guesses, but surprisingly little is known about each individual case.
Martin himself represents such a case. While he has remained quiet on the matter, some news has come out thanks in part to the lawsuit against his agent.
This brings to light one of the darkest sides of professional baseball. Furthermore, it seems to show a systematic way for corrupt agents to leverage their clients while they are in one of the most desperate positions of their career.
Hernandez represents or has represented many Cuban-born baseball players including Jose Abreu, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Jorge Soler. Whether their cases were handled similarly is strictly speculation at this time.
Martin's case appears to be especially unique. As previously stated, very little is known about each individual defection case. Sure, they may be broad knowledge of how a player generally defects, but each case is different. Martin reportedly signed his deal with Estrellas del Beisbol "under extreme fear and duress."
Fans of baseball pay decidedly little attention to this side of baseball. It can be hard to find information on it, confusing, and it doesn't conjure the utmost adoration for their favorite pastime. However, the more baseball fans play ignorant to the wrongdoings of defection and scouting in underprivileged parts of the world, the more cases like Hernandez's will occur.
Whether the repaired relationship between Cuba and America presents new opportunities for future defectors still remains to be seen. Going forward, the MLBPA will likely need to monitor defections more closely to prevent cases like these from happening again. MLB's international policy will also likely need to be looked at, though Rob Manfred has already expressed interest in doing so.
Original story published February 19, 2016.
Update February 22, 2016 -- The bond is set:
The bond for Bart Hernandez has been set for $300,000 on the condition he surrenders his passport, according to Jeff Passan.
Buckle in for a loooong ride because we're only seeing the beginning of this story and these are the types where a slow-drip of information will be coming out over weeks and months. We'll update as we see new reports.