Mariners sign Cuban center fielder Guillermo Heredia

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Cuban center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who defected 13 months ago in the hopes of signing with an MLB team, has agreed to a deal with the Mariners.

No word yet on the terms of the contract, but because Heredia is 25 years old any money used to sign him won’t count against the Mariners’ yearly international bonus pool.

Ben Badler of Baseball America, who’s the go-to source for scouting reports on international prospects, wrote last year that Heredia “is a plus defender” in center field with “good range to go with a strong arm.” However, according to Badler “the question mark scouts have is on his bat.”

Heredia is a career .285 hitter in Cuba with as many walks as strikeouts in 374 total games, but has limited power and is not a base-stealing threat. Leonys Martin–who defected from Cuba in 2011 to sign with the Rangers–is atop the Mariners’ depth chart in center field, so Heredia is unlikely to be handed a full-time job in the majors right away.