As feds probe MLB’s Latin American operations, a flashy scout and contested deal draw interest
Shortly after Olivera’s arrival in the Dominican Republic, court records show, he signed a “representation agreement” with a group of five people. One of them was Santín . None of them was a certified MLB agent. Instead of charging Olivera 5 percent of his first professional contract — the typical maximum rate for an MLB agent — the contract called for Olivera to pay Santín ‘s group 37.5 percent. When told of the terms of this deal, Joe Kehoskie, a former agent and expert in the Latin American market, started laughing. It long has been an open secret among baseball scouts and agents that some elite Cuban players have been forced by smugglers to sign away exorbitant portions of their future earnings, as something of an exit toll off the island nation. According to Kehoskie, the contract between Olivera and Santín ‘s group resembles one of these deals. “There’s no legitimate reason for a player of Olivera’s caliber to have entered into an agreement like this, unless these were the people who brought him over, or they bought his rights from the people who brought him over,” Kehoskie said. Quintero declined to discuss his client’s dealings with Santín in detail but did accuse Santín and his colleagues of threatening Olivera and his family members to try to coerce him into honoring their contract. “These people were held against their will and supervised 24/7 by people carrying guns and were not allowed to freely move about the city unescorted,” Quintero said.