Rays Sign Cuban Prospect Leslie Anderson to Four-Year Deal


The Rays and the Jays are looking to Cuba to stock their farm systems.

While Toronto signed Cuban shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechevarria on Tuesday, Tampa Bay has signed Cuban prospect Leslie Anderson to a four-year contract worth at least $1.725 million, The Associated Press reports.

Anderson spent nine seasons with Cuba's Camaguey and played for Cuba's World Baseball Classic teams in 2006 and 2009. The undrafted free agent has a career .320 batting average in the Cuban National Series.

Rays director of international operations Carlos Alfonso thinks Anderson can be a versatile player in the Tampa Bay organization.

"Anderson is the consummate professional hitter," Alfonso told the AP. "We were also attracted to him because of his athleticism, and the fact that he can play all three outfield positions as well as first base."

Scouts project Anderson, 28, as an outfielder or first baseman at the big-league level, but they do not view him as a top prospect. Baseball America, The Sporting News and Baseball Prospectus have Anderson unranked in their prospect ratings.

Anderson will report to the Rays' facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., for extended spring training. The former Cuba national team member had agreed in principle to a contract with Tampa Bay last month.

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