The Boston Red Sox reportedly are on the verge of tapping back into the international market.
The Red Sox are close to finalizing a minor league contract with Cuban infielder Yoilan Cerse, a source told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam, citing an industry source, confirmed Sanchez’s report Friday night, adding that only a physical exam and paperwork stand in the way of a Boston completing a deal with the 28-year-old.
Cerse, listed at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, spent the last nine seasons playing for Indios de Guantanamo in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He played primarily second base, hitting .325 with a .395 on-base percentage in 663 career games.
McAdam suggests the Red Sox view Cerse as someone they can transform into a utility player for use in both the infield and outfield. The Red Sox, of course, have placed an emphasis on increasing their young players’ versatility of late, in large because of the success Brock Holt has had in a super utility role.
According to McAdam, those who have scouted Cerse describe the Cuban as a good athlete with plus-speed and quickness. He apparently doesn’t profile as an everyday player, but he could become a legitimate stolen base threat off the bench.
A baseball source told McAdam approximately eight teams, including the Red Sox, held private workouts for Cerse, who currently is in Fort Myers, Fla., working his way back into game shape. Cerse is exempt from international signing pools because of his age and experience, so the move doesn’t figure to be a costly endeavor for the Red Sox, who have made several international splashes of late.
The Red Sox signed 27-year-old Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract last August. Boston then inked 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, who was subject to international signing pools, to a $31.5 million signing bonus that also carried a 100 percent tax.
Cerse is likely to start his Red Sox career at Single-A, according to McAdam.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonStrong_34