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New international rules affect tryouts, travel

Clubs will be able to evaluate players before signing eligibility period
Misael Urbina participates in the MLB Showcase at the Estadio Quisqeye Juan Marichal on February 21-22, 2018 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (Bill Mitchell)
August 15, 2018

International scouts will get the opportunity to evaluate the stars of the future at club facilities much earlier than in the past and a new rule regarding travel could have a direct impact on Venezuelan prospects.Last month, Major League Baseball issued a memo to all 30 clubs outlining new policies

International scouts will get the opportunity to evaluate the stars of the future at club facilities much earlier than in the past and a new rule regarding travel could have a direct impact on Venezuelan prospects.
Last month, Major League Baseball issued a memo to all 30 clubs outlining new policies on tryouts for international prospects in an effort to improve the governance of the international amateur talent system and those two changes are among the most significant.
Previous regulations stated the prospects, recognized in the memo as "international tryout players," had to wait until they were 16 or six months from becoming eligible to sign before they could try out at a team facility, but that's no longer the case. New policies allow teams to try out players at their facilities starting 18 months prior to being eligible to sign.
Furthermore, players 12 to 18 months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to seven days, and players six to 12 months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to 15 days within any 90-day period. Players up to six months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to 15 days in any 45-day period. International tryout players more than 18 months from becoming eligible may not enter a team's facility.
The new policy is designed to help the league and clubs create a transparent history and track record with the prospects.
New rules for prospect travel mean teams may provide transportation, room and board for a prospect and one family member or guardian at a hotel or team academy up to 18 months before the prospect becomes eligible to sign. Clubs are not allowed to pay for the travel of a trainer or agent unless that person is a family member or guardian, but the change could immediately impact young top prospects, particularly those in Venezuela seeking a stable place to train and be evaluated.
Among the other rules incorporated at the facilities level are these:
• Clubs must submit a form to MLB any time a player or players check into or out of a team's facility by the end of the day. There are also new travel authorization procedures.
• A team may host "International Tryout Players" at any facility outside the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico, including trainer facilities and its own academy. "Club facilities" include their academies in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the Polar facility in Venezuela, and tryouts in Aruba or Colombia for prospects from Venezuela. A club's Tricky League team, designed for recent international signees, that travels to a trainer academy for a game or workout that includes "International Tryout Players" also qualifies.
• A team may not host "International Tryout Players" at facilities in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico, unless the team receives prior approval from the Commissioner's Office, it notifies all other teams of the showcase at least seven days in advance and provides access to the event, including data such as Trackman and Statcast™, collected at the event to all other teams.
• International tryout players more than 18 months from becoming eligible may not enter a team's facility; players 12-18 months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to seven days and players 6-12 months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to 15 days in any 90-day period. Players 0-6 months from eligibility may enter a team's facility for up to 15 days in any 45-day period.
Rules for showcases include:
• Teams may attend showcases, games or workouts that are open to all clubs at trainer facilities or events organized by the Commissioner's Office without restriction.
• Team employees may not participate in showcases but may direct players to perform certain activities.
• Teams may host showcases of "International Tryout Players" at facilities in the United States if the team receives prior approval from the Commissioner's Office, it notifies all other teams of the showcase at least seven days in advance and provides access to the event, including data such as Trackman and Statcast™, collected at the event to all other teams.
Rules for travel
• Teams may provide reasonable transportation, room, and board to an International Tryout Player and one family member or guardian.
• An International Tryout Players may travel with a trainer/agent, but teams may not pay for to the trainer/agent unless the trainer/agent is a family member or guardian.
• A team may lodge an International Tryout Player and one family member or guardian at a hotel or a team academy.
• A team may not provide anything of value to the player or his family member or guardian beyond transportation, room, board and urgent medical services, if necessary.
Rules for Cuban players
• Teams still cannot scout, tryout, negotiate with, or sign Cuban players in Cuba.
• Cuban players who reside outside of Cuba are considered International Tryout Players.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.