"The defection of the Gourriels does send one strong signal and that is that no working accord with MLB is anywhere in sight," Bjarkman said.
Bjarkman said when it comes a deal with Major League Baseball, the Cubans are in a no-win situation.
"The Cubans realize that an accord allowing their players to move MLB would effectively kill their league since all the top talent would leave," Bjarkman said. "But by standing pat it is happening anyway, so they are damned if they do and damned if they don't."
"Ismael Sene, a baseball historian who hosts a weekly TV program in Havana, said: 'Yulieski is one of the most beloved we have here, from the people to the government. It's a sad day because it means our baseball is falling apart.'
"The Gourriels' apparent defections come as Major League Baseball and Cuba's baseball federation seek a working relationship that would allow Cuban players to leave their country legally to play in the major leagues. In a show of progress, the Cuban government allowed several major leaguers who were defectors — including Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers — to take part in the recent goodwill tour.
"And if an accord had been reached, Yulieski Gourriel was thought to be among the first Cuban players who might take advantage and join the major leagues. But he apparently decided he could not wait, perhaps because he is already over 30."