The Yankees and Red Sox are always competing with one another. Apparently the competition may now be extending to Cuban shortstops.
With young Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias all the rage in Fort Myers, Hank Steinbrenner is out to get one of Iglesias’ compatriots. According to the New York Post, the Yankees are the front-runners among five competitors to sign 21-year-old Cuban defector Adeinis Hechavarria.
The shortstop comes highly praised and has been physically compared, by one talent evaluator, to former Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano. The same evaluator also lauded Hechavarria’s hitting ability.
Though he is by no means a lock to end up in pinstripes, the Yankees do appear to be the heavy favorites. They have spent a lot of time checking up on him, going to his open workouts in the Dominican Republic and even having him come to work out at their Dominican complex. Perhaps most importantly, the Bronx Bombers have the money to equal or surpass the $8 million the Red Sox gave to Iglesias.
Despite the inevitable comparisons to his countryman, one Dominican scout told the post that Hechavarria is especially proud that he, and not Iglesias, was given the nod at short when the two played together on the Cuban Junior team.
Despite his skills on the left side of the diamond, the presence of Derek Jeter could force Hechavarria over to the other side of the bag. At second base, he would take over for Robinson Cano, whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season. Were the Yankees to land Hechavarria but not find him ready for 2011, Cano’s deal has options for the next two years.