|Red Sox Aggressive in Signing International Shortstops||07.16.09 at 3:16 pm ET|
The Red Sox, who had been expected for months to sign shortstop Jose Vinicio out of the Dominican Republic, have now officially signed the shortstop for a $1.95 million bonus. Vinicio became eligible to sign once he turned 16 on July 10.
The Sox are also believed to be close to finalizing an agreement with Jose Iglesias, a 19-year-old out of Cuba. Multiple reports peg the agreement as being for four years in the vicinity of $8.2 million. (The Boston Herald was the first to confirm the agreement.)
Vinicio was widely regarded as one of the best talents available in the international amateur free-agent market this summer. The shortstop is described as having legitimate defensive skills that would allow him to stay at short, with the chance to develop into an above-average hitter (particularly given his position). Baseball America offered the following scouting report on him:
“(Miguel Angel Sano) is technically the No. 1 shortstop prospect this year, but Vinicio is the top prospect who projects to stay at shortstop in pro ball. Scouts say Sano and Vinicio are two of the best athletes in Latin America, and while Vinicio lacks Sano’s power stroke, he has very good bat speed and has shown the ability to drive the ball with some authority. Vinicio has a skinny, projectable frame, and scouts say the switch-hitter is better from the right side of the plate. In the field, Vinicio separates himself from his peers with good speed, range, arm strength and instincts.”
As for Iglesias, he is considered a very athletic player with good speed who plays dazzling dazzling defense. Even so, there are questions about his ability to hit enough to justify an investment along the lines of the Sox’ rumored offer. He has shown little power in his Cuban career, though he was very young for the competition while playing in the Cuban National Series.
Dayan Viciedo, a 19-year-old power hitting third baseman whom the White Sox signed to a four-year, $11 million deal out of Cuba this offseason, played in several international tournaments with Iglesias. At the Futures Game in St. Louis, Viciedo offered the following scouting report on his former teammate and countryman:
“He’s a very good fielder in particular. You can put him anywhere,” said Viciedo. “He can play third, short and second. He’s a very good player.”
Asked about Iglesias’ hitting, Viciedo paused to consider his answer.
“He defends himself,” said Viciedo.
Iglesias defected while playing at a tournament in Canada last August.
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