Fidel Castro essentially forced these guys to leave Cuba. It wasn't really even a choice. It was either stay at home, be handed a broom and told 'have a nice life' or they could leave Cuba and continue playing baseball.
On Cuban baseball defectors, from the PBS documentary Stealing Home (18 June 2001)
It's the wild, wild West of baseball, and it just keeps getting wilder.Joe Kehoskie
You take 5 percent of Contreras's $30 million, you're retired.Joe Kehoskie
There's at least half a billion dollars [worth] of baseball players in Cuba right now and probably a lot more.Joe Kehoskie
[Chapman] is a strong candidate for being the fool’s gold of the current free-agent market.Joe Kehoskie
In many if not most cases, Cuban players haven’t been busts so much as they’ve been systematically over-hyped during the signing process, which led to unrealistic expectations around Major League Baseball and in the media. The vast majority of Cuba’s truly elite players have either stayed in Cuba for their entire careers or left Cuba too late to have a meaningful MLB career.Joe Kehoskie