Bartolo Colon, Robinson Cano and Pablo Sandoval were among several former MLB players selected in the inaugural draft for Baseball United, a Dubai professional baseball league. Baseball United is the first professional baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia.
Cano was selected with the sixth overall pick by the Dubai Wolves, who are one of four Baseball United teams set to start playing in fall 2024. The Abu Dhabi Falcons, Karachi Monarchs and Mumbai Cobras will also begin playing next year, and those teams will participate in an All-Star showcase at Dubai International Stadium in November.
MLB Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Mariano Rivera have invested in the league. According to the Associated Press, the league will own the four teams with four additional teams likely to be revealed in 2024.
Right-handed pitcher Karan Patel was selected with the No. 1 pick in the draft. In 2017. Patel became the first Indian player to ever be selected in the MLB Draft when he was chosen by the Chicago White Sox. He played for the Billings Mustangs of the independent Pioneer League this past season.
Colon, who was a four-time MLB All-Star, was selected with the 16th overall pick by the Monarchs. Colon lasted pitched during the 2018 season with the Texas Rangers as that proved to be the final stop of his 21-year professional career. In September 2023, Colon announced his retirement in a ceremony in which the New York Mets honored him.
Cano tallied 335 home runs during a 17-year MLB career in which he spent the majority with the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Seattle Mariners. The 41-year-old finished this past season with the Atlanta Braves.
Didi Gregorius was selected with the No. 3 pick by the Wolves. The 33-year-old played for the Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies over his 11-year career, spending four seasons with the Phils before being released during the 2022 campaign.
Just after Gregorius, former MLB slugger Pablo Sandoval was selected fourth overall by the Falcons. Sandoval spent the majority of his MLB career with the San Francisco Giants and won three World Series titles with the franchise. He last played in the MLB in 2021, when he appeared in 69 games for the Braves.
Andrelton Simmons, 34, was taken with the eighth overall pick by the Cobras. The former MLB shortstop began his career with the Braves before playing for the Los Angeles Angels, winning four Gold Gloves over his 11-year career.