Apparently, pitcher Aroldis Chapman isn't the only Cuban export the Red Sox are interested in this offseason.
ESPN.com's Jorge Arangure reports that 25-year-old Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz has worked out for both the Red Sox and Tigers within the past two weeks. Arangure also suggests that Ruiz, who defected early this summer and has been declared a free agent, has impressed scouts during his workouts.
The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder has good speed (he stole 32 bases in 90 games during the 2007-08 season in Cuba) but not a ton of power. He is mostly a first baseman, but also has experience in the outfield.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ruiz hit .305/.408/.467 through 52 games in 2008-09.
"Then," says a Cuban baseball blog, "he vanished from Cuba until he appeared in Miami."
There's no definitive sense of when Ruiz might be ready to play in the big leagues, but at age 25, it would seem that he would have to be nearly ready now for teams to show so much interest. In fact, Arangure says Ruiz could get a multimillion-dollar signing bonus.