Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin followed a risky but well-trodden path to the Major Leagues. Like many Cuban ballplayers before him, he defected in 2010 while in Japan for the World University Baseball Championship. He made his way to the United States several months later and signed a lucrative, $15.5 million free agent contract with the Rangers in 2011.
Keith Allison Leonys Martin
It was a mammoth payday, particularly given the $40 a week he was reportedly making back home.
Martin's journey to Arlington, however, is more complex than the poor-Latin-American-ballplayer-strikes-it-rich narrative that's been presented. That point became quite clear on Wednesday, when federal prosecutors in Miami charged three Floridians with conspiring to smuggle, kidnap and extort Martin, according to the Miami Herald.More »