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Report: MLB teams are exploiting 12-year-olds in Latin America, according to whistleblower

MLB frowns upon agreements with younger players, but says it can't enforce rules against it. (Photo by Ricardo ARDUENGO / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Major League Baseball teams are exploiting kids as young as 12 years old in Latin America, according to a USA Today report.

Rudy Santin, a long-time baseball scout who started a baseball academy in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, reportedly spoke with the FBI regarding MLB’s conduct in Latin America.

Santin painted an ugly picture, in which MLB teams are making promises to kids as young as 12 years old, and then pulling out of those deals years later, leaving the kids in debt, according to USA Today.

According to Santin, in addition to others with knowledge of the deals, some of whom asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal from Major League Baseball, teams enter into verbal agreements with players so they can keep them away from competitors and then slash the value of those deals or even abandon them altogether, leaving players without options and their families in debt to shady lenders who have charged exorbitant interest rates on loans based on the future earnings. 

Santin spoke out about those practices after having a stroke. He feared he would not live much longer, and wanted do “the right thing” before he died. Santin died in May after having a heart attack.

He said he spoke with the FBI and MLB regarding players in Latin America being exploited. The FBI could not confirm or deny an investigation, according to USA Today. Santin said Major League Baseball thanked him for the information, but did not act on it.

If true, the practice would be against MLB rules, which stipulate teams cannot sign a player until that player is 16. MLB, however, told USA Today policing that issue is “unenforceable.” The league added it did not approve of those agreements.

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