Two Cuban veterans, outfielder Alexei Bell and infielder Ramon Lunar, will work out for major league scouts in Cancun a week from Monday, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Bell previously held a February showcase for scouts in Mexico, where 13 big league clubs sent representatives to take in his workout.
Bell, who isn’t a free agent yet, left his homeland in January in hopes of landing in the majors. Because of his age (32) and vast experience playing in Cuba, Bell won’t be subject to international bonus restrictions after hitting .319/.417/.547 in 3,441 career plate appearances with Serie Nacional. Bell helped his cause in Cuba by demonstrating a mastery of the strike zone, walking just eight fewer times (431) than he struck out (439). His production declined last season as a member of the Capitales of Quebec, a Canadian-American Association club, as he slashed .317/.363/.424 with two home runs, 24 strikeouts and 14 walks. Defensively, he has a plus arm and could fit in right field, Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote in January 2015.
Lunar is already a free agent, and his age (29) and playing experience in Cuba also make him exempt from international bonus restrictions. Lunar has played both corner infield positions – as well as left field – and he posted quality offensive numbers with Serie Nacional, batting .313/.414/.489 in parts of seven seasons. Impressively, he bettered Bell in Cuba by walking more than he struck out (244 to 238). Lunar is now playing for Los Tigres de Quintana Roo in the Mexican League, where he has hit a robust .458/.567/.542 with six walks and a single strikeout in his first 30 trips to the plate this season.