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Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig defects, goes to Mexico in search of free agency

Jun 19, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

Cuba

Already this year Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler have landed $36 million and $30 million contracts after defecting from Cuba and another highly touted player is hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that 21-year-old outfielder Yasel Puig defected from Cuba and “is in the process of establishing residency in Mexico.”

Once that happens he’ll be declared a free agent, although as Soler showed recently that process can drag on for a long time. In the meantime he’ll hold a “showcase” for MLB scouts in Mexico.

Puig’s agent, Jaime Torres, is talking him up as a rare combination of youth and experience, as the 6-foot-3 outfielder has played in international competition and Cuba’s top league for several years already.

However, unless Puig is declared a free agent almost immediately it’ll be impossible for him to cash in with the same type of huge contract as Cespedes and Soler thanks to the changes to the collective bargaining agreement that go into effect on July 2. In other words, Torres will be racing the clock while Puig is trying to impress scouts.

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jun 19, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Congrats Yasel, live the dream my man

  2. Alex K - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I think the chances of him getting declared a free agent by July 1 are pretty slim.

  3. ezthinking - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    His situation might make him exempt. Check this out:

    “For the next two years, Cubans will be exempt as long as they are 23 and have played in a Cuban professional league for at least three seasons. Beginning in 2014-15 Cubans must have five years of pro experience to be exempt. So if Yoenis Cespedes had still been unsigned by July 2, he would have been exempt from the new rules anyway, where 20-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler will be subject to the new rules unless he can get all of his paperwork pushed through and sign before July 2.”

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/international-affairs/2012/2613345.html

    Not sure his service time etc… Also the Mexican league has different rules. See the in the same article.

    • ezthinking - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      I see he’s reported to be 21, but not sure when they look at the age and the proof of age. Might be one situation where a player might want to appear older or fess up if he really is.

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