Cuban baseball players live a great life compared to other Cuban residents. They make approximately $40 to $200 a month with a few extra bonus incentives, a much better salary than the average Cuban's. They also get better housing, an annual bonus and the coveted privilege of traveling.
Compare that to the life of a Major League ballplayer. The minimum annual salary is half a million dollars. Top salaries reach upward of $20 million annually. It's not hard to see why there are Cuban players willing to go through almost anything for a chance at the fame and fortune of playing in the richest league in the world.
Cuban athletes have two choices when they want to defect to the U.S. One is to use the wet-foot-dry-foot policy -- the Cuban Adjustment Act. Another is to gain residence in another country first.
What's the difference? It can be millions of dollars.
Coming to the U.S. like most other Cuban dissidents, through wet foot, dry foot, means a player would have to go to the back of the line and start a baseball career in the minors. With the second option, they'd jump to the front of the line and have the ability to sign as an unrestricted free agent with a professional team.
The Miami Herald's Linda Robertson says Cuban players have to go to another country first and set up residency there, such as the Dominican Republic or Mexico.
This has allowed for a smuggling pipeline to form -- a small but lucrative industry where people transport these players from one country to another. In return many of these players have to promise a percentage of their multimillion-dollar contracts. The most famous may be the recent story of Yasiel Puig.
Robertson says the smuggling business would likely disappear if relations between Cuba and the United States improves to the point where players could travel freely.
Normalized relations between the longtime foes could also mean new possibilities for the MLB.
"Cuba is a gold mine of baseball talent. Major League teams could possibly have scouts operating freely in Cuba. They could create academies and develop players," Robertson says.
This is not new. It was 1999 when the Baltimore Orioles split some games with the Cuban National Team in an attempt for baseball diplomacy.
The next scheduled talk between the two nations is likely to take place in Washington, D.C., sometime next month.
It may take time, but there could be a day when Major League teams can send a scout to Havana to see some 17-year-old shortstop. Robertson says there might even be a day when the MLB has a professional team in Cuba.
"Cuban players who make it in Major League Baseball are revered in Cuba and their careers are followed religiously by the Cuban people, who are very knowledgeable baseball fans."
What's not known is whether those players could go back to their country someday.
Scroll below to see photos of baseball in Cuba.
Current Cubans playing on a Major League team as of 2014:
Abreu, Jose, CWS Alonso, Yonder, SD Bueno, Francisco, KC
Cespedes, Yoenis, OAK Chapman, Aroldis, CIN Elias, Roenis, SEA
Escobar, Yunel, TB Fernandez, Jose, MIA Garcia, Onelki, LAD
Gonzalez, Miguel, PHI Grandal, Yasmani, SD Hechavarria, Adeiny, MIA
Iglesias, Jose, DET Martin, Leonys, TEX Nieto, Adrian, CWS
Pena, Brayan, CIN Puig, Yasiel, LAD Ramirez, Alexei, CWS
Viciedo, Dayan, CWS