Alfredo Despaigne has returned to Cuba, according to Cuban media reports, following his temporary suspension from the Mexican League in connection with what Dominican authorities have said is a false passport.
The Mexican League confirmed that Despaigne was playing for the Campeche Pirates using a Dominican passport, which immediately raised questions given that Despaigne was born in Cuba, has lived there his whole life and was in Cuba during the April 2013 date of issue on his passport. Despaigne, the Cuban government and the Pirates have all denied having any role in any illegal activity.
Despaigne is still waiting for a final decision from the Mexican League. There’s no clear timetable for when that decision will be announced, though now it’s believed it might come closer to the league’s June 1 all-star game. For Despaigne, a decision could potentially terminate his contract with Campeche. The league could also suspend him, which would also preclude him from playing in any major league affiliated organizations, or rule that he is ineligible to play due to having improper paperwork, which could potentially be a major boon for the player.
If Despaigne is suspended and stays in Cuba, sources believe it’s likely he could get a contract quickly with a team in Japan. Outfielder Frederich Cepeda is already playing for the Yomiuri Giants on a one-year, $1.5 million deal and third baseman Yulieski Gourriel has a contract with the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars. A contract for Despaigne would depend on the availability of foreign roster spots for a Nippon Professional Baseball club, but his talent and the familiarity of Japanese clubs with him would make him a high-demand player.