Cuban outfielder Yadiel Hernandez will host a showcase for clubs on May 18, MLBTR has learned. The 28-year-old corner outfielder held a showcase back in February that was reportedly attended by as many as 25 Major League teams but hasn’t held a large-scale workout for clubs since being declared a free agent by MLB on April 21. Hernandez’s age and professional experience in Cuba make him exempt from international spending pools. He’s a left-handed hitter with excellent plate discipline and a knack for contact, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler has previously opined that Hernandez has a chance at hitting 10 to 15 homers over the course of a big league season. He’s a career .324/.449/.487 hitter in 514 pro games in Cuba.
A couple more notes pertaining to the international market…
- Hernandez’s countryman, Alexei Bell, will play for the Mexican League’s Quintana Roo Tigres while he waits for the league to declare him a free agent, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Playing in Mexico will allow the 32-year-old outfielder to be seen by big league scouts, though scouts have had a couple of looks at him in recent months. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported that 13 clubs watched Bell back in February, and Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith recently reported that Bell would work out for scouts this month as well. That most recent showcase, it should be noted, was yesterday, though word hasn’t crept out about the results just yet. Bell is a .319/.417/.547 hitter in 659 pro games in Cuba.
- In the wake of reports of MLB’s investigation into the Red Sox’ international signings, Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes that “package deals” have been commonplace on the international market for years. It’s not uncommon at all, Badler writes, for a team that is hoping to sign a player of interest to sign a close friend or sibling of that player for a lesser price as a means of enticing the player they truly covet to sign. Teams will also agree to sign lesser players from the same trainer/agency if signing the lesser-regarded player can help to persuade the trainer/agent to sign off on an offer for the more highly regarded talent. While there is certainly the possibility for nefarious activity to take place as a result of package signings, Badler notes, such arrangements aren’t new and have been receiving league approval since even before the current international bonus pool system was implemented in 2012. Badler lists a number of package signing situations in the past, citing players from the Reds, Dodgers, Rangers and Pirates that signed under various types of package scenarios. Of course, the instances listed by Badler weren’t attempts to circumvent league-imposed spending limitations, and it seems there’s at least a belief that the Red Sox acted in such a manner, thus leading to the ongoing investigation. Those that are intrigued by the Sox’ situation or the international market in a more general sense will find Badler’s latest column intriguing.