The Red Sox have Cuban shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias on their 40-man roster. Now, the Blue Jays have a top Cuban shortstop prospect of their own.
According to the Toronto Star, the Blue Jays signed Adeiny Hechavarria to a four-year, $10 million deal Tuesday. The 20-year-old's contract is worth $1.75 million more than the deal Iglesias signed with Boston last July.
The Jays faced competition for Hechavarria's services from the Yankees, Cubs and Angels.
The Cuban shortstop prospect hit .262 with a .302 on-base percentage in his final season in Cuba's National Series and has drawn mixed reviews from scouts. But White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, a former teammate of Hechavarria on Cuba's national team, thinks the shortstop will succeed in the major leagues.
"He's got all the tools," Ramirez told the Star. "If he dedicates himself, the results will come. He knows what he has to do. He has to be a professional, and he has to train hard. It won't be long before he's playing here in Toronto."
Toronto has taken steps to rebuild its minor league system after the team's 75-87 finish to the 2009 season. The Jays acquired prospects Kyle Drabek, Travis d'Arnaud and Brett Wallace in the four-team blockbuster that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and nearly lured highly touted Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman to Toronto before he signed with the Reds.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been trying to restock the team's system in a hurry.
"We're trying to get to the point that we have strong scouting and player development, a strong pipeline of talent from the minor leagues, and with ownership and the market size, we have the ability to keep our best players here," Anthopoulos told USA Today during spring training. "But we need to build this thing so our players can be here for an extended run."
Hechavarria agreed to the deal with the Jays last month, but the completion of the visa process prevented Toronto from making his signing official.
The Blue Jays weren't the only team to sign a Cuban prospect to a four-year deal on Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay Rays signed Leslie Anderson to a four-year deal worth at least $1.725 million. Scouts project Anderson as a first baseman or outfielder in the major leagues.