SAN DIEGO (CN) - Major League Baseball conspired with Mexican pro leagues to limit the number of Mexican players in the United States, a ballplayer and his agent claim in Federal Court.
Daniel Arrellano Pesquiera claims he had an agreement with the Boston Red Sox for the 2012 season, but despite a good performance, he was sent home after Major League Baseball determined that he belonged to a Mexican team.
Pesquiera's agent, David Gonzalez Camacho, claims he went to New York with documentation proving Pesquiera did not belong to a Mexican League team, but Major League Baseball refused to reverse its decision.
Gonzalez and Arrellano sued Major League Baseball and its affiliates, and Minor League Baseball. They did not sue the Association of Professional Baseball Teams of the Mexican Leagues, but claim the pro leagues in both nations have a working arrangement, which is illegal.
"Major League Baseball has engaged in for decades, and is engaging, in a continuously corrupt and illegal scheme with the Association of Professional Baseball Team of the Mexican Leagues to allow only those Mexican baseball players to train and play in the U.S. that are signed up with teams that form the Association of Professional Baseball Teams of the Mexican Leagues," the complaint states.
"It is apparent that a sweetheart relationship exists between the U.S. leagues and the Mexican leagues wherein these respective entities seem to limit any and all competition from outside agents for the placements of these extremely talented and qualified Mexican baseball players. These leagues seek to exclusively control the market for these players for their own illegal and greedy profit and benefit."
The plaintiffs claim the Mexican leagues benefit by forcing young, talented players to sign with their teams under "obscene and unconscionable commission structures." The teams need not spend any money developing the talent, before selling the players to MLB for commissions, according to the complaint.
"On the other hand, plaintiffs are informed and believe and based thereon allege that in the hierarchy of Major League Baseball there are a select and corrupt few individuals that are receiving kickbacks and benefits from this exclusive relationship," the complaint states. "This course of conduct on the whole is absolutely detrimental to and represents the antithesis of what should be the fundamental goal of Major League Baseball to secure the best talent possible from Mexico."
The complaint offers several examples of the alleged agreement with several current players from Mexico, including Luis Heredia.
The plaintiffs claims that Heredia, who is under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, was forced to sign with a Mexican team solely to sign with an MLB team. They claim Heredia signed with the Veracruz team and never practiced or played for them. But when Heredia signed with Pittsburgh for $2.8 million, the plaintiffs say, the Veracruz team took a 70 percent commission, almost $2 million, for doing nothing.
The plaintiffs seek more than $1 million in incidental damages, and punitive damages, for intentional interference with economic relations, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, negligent interference with economic relations, negligent interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair business practices. They are represented by Stephen McCue of Rancho Santa Fe.
Named as defendants are Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Enterprises, Major League Baseball Properties, Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues Inc. and Minor League Baseball.