While Cardinals righthander Carlos Martinez has arrived in the United States, Cubs righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua remains in the Dominican Republic as he awaits his visa.
Martinez and Paniagua are two high-profile Dominican pitching prospects with a history of paperwork question marks and disciplinary action from Major League Baseball who have dealt with visa delays this spring.
Every few years, the U.S. Consulates around the world rotate personnel, so this is the first spring training under the new personnel in the Dominican Republic. The Consulate has access to prior investigations done by MLB, so in cases like Martinez’s or Paniagua’s where MLB ruled the age was undetermined or other aspects of the investigation seem suspicious, the government is likely to ask more questions or request more documentation before issuing a visa. In Paniagua’s case, the Consulate is asking for further documentation from his younger siblings, who were not declared in the Dominican Republic.
While Martinez’s situation has been straightened out and he is now in the U.S., Paniagua is still waiting in the Dominican Republic. Ultimately Paniagua, who received his visa last year and played in the U.S. after signing for $1.5 million in July, is likely to receive his visa and play at some point this year, but there’s no timetable for his arrival.