The Red Sox are nearing a minor league deal with Cuban second baseman Yoilan Cerse, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Sanchez reported back in February that the former Cuban All-Star was seeking a deal with a big league club.
The 28-year-old Cerse has nine years of professional experience playing in Cuba, so given his age and experience, he’s exempt from international signing pools. It’s unclear at this time what type of signing bonus the Red Sox and Cerse are discussing. While the lack of media attention he’s received thus far would, at first glance, appear to indicate that he’s in line for a minimal bonus, that may not be the case. The Dodgers signed right-hander Pablo Fernandez to a minor league deal in March, and, despite having received little fanfare in the U.S. media, Fernandez landed a hefty $8MM bonus.
Cerse, a 5’9″, 172-pound right-handed hitter is a career .325/.395/.468 hitter in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He never posted particularly gaudy home run or stolen base totals in his Cuban career, topping out at 14 and 10, respectively. However, he showed an excellent knack for making contact, as evidenced by the fact that he walked exactly as many times as he struck out (242) over the life of 3187 plate appearances with los Indios de Guantanamo.
Middle infield depth isn’t exactly an area of need for the Red Sox, as they have Dustin Pedroia locked up long-term and Xander Bogaerts penciled in as the shortstop of the future. The presence of that duo, as well as third baseman Pablo Sandoval (five years, $95MM) did not deter the club from giving Cuban infield phenom Yoan Moncada a record-setting $31.5MM signing bonus, however. Boston appears intent on stockpiling talent throughout the organization — even in areas that aren’t an obvious need — which could benefit them down the line in future trade scenarios.