Already this year Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler have landed $36 million and $30 million contracts after defecting from Cuba and another highly touted player is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that 21-year-old outfielder Yasel Puig defected from Cuba and “is in the process of establishing residency in Mexico.”
Once that happens he’ll be declared a free agent, although as Soler showed recently that process can drag on for a long time. In the meantime he’ll hold a “showcase” for MLB scouts in Mexico.
Puig’s agent, Jaime Torres, is talking him up as a rare combination of youth and experience, as the 6-foot-3 outfielder has played in international competition and Cuba’s top league for several years already.
However, unless Puig is declared a free agent almost immediately it’ll be impossible for him to cash in with the same type of huge contract as Cespedes and Soler thanks to the changes to the collective bargaining agreement that go into effect on July 2. In other words, Torres will be racing the clock while Puig is trying to impress scouts.