Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro reportedly had $3.6 million seized from his bank accounts on Dec. 18 as a result of a legal dispute with a baseball school in his native Dominican Republic, according to The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan.
The removal of funds, which was made at several banks, according to reports, stemmed from a dispute over an eight-year-old agreement made between Castro's father and the school when the Cubs' star was just a teenager.
Castro's father reportedly signed an agreement to pay the school a small percentage (roughly 3 percent) of his son's contract when he reached the majors.
The 23-year-old signed a hefty seven-year, $60 million deal with the Cubs in 2012. According to Sullivan, he subsequently paid a portion of his $45,000 signing bonus to the school, Mi Futuro Biliguer, which translates to "My Future Big Leaguer."
At the time of his new contract, ESPNChicago.com quoted Castro talking about the huge financial impact of the deal:
"It's big. It's big especially for my family. We come from very poor people and now my family is going to be better. Their lives changing and that's really neat."
Despite the $45,000 donation, Sullivan reports that the school's coach, Manuel Nunez, is "trying to force Castro to give him 3 percent of his contract" and has plans to sue Castro. But sources close to the situation say Castro will file a countersuit against Nunez in an attempt to expose the agreement and the argument that a father can sign away a son's future earnings.
The bizarre agreement even has Sports Illustrated's Melissa Segura's eyebrows raised:
Fortunately, Castro and the Cubs are in the midst of the offseason and won't have to worry about the shortstop missing playing time as a result of the off-field drama. However, the unwelcome publicity could damage Castro's relationship with his current team if it drags on for too long.
It remains to be seen whether Castro will win out and reclaim his earnings in court, but there's certainly a lot at stake with millions of dollars and Castro's reputation hanging in the balance.