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Sox To Sign Cuban

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 21, 2008 4:00PM

2008_11_viciedo.jpgAnother Cuban will soon be coming to town, but he's more likely to be playing the hot corner than hanging with fans in the bleachers or chilling in the owner's box. While Mark Cuban's chances of landing the Cubs took a turn for the worse this week, the White Sox are poised to sign Cuban phenom Dayan Viciedo.

The 19-year-old and the South Siders have reached an agreement only a week after Viciedo was declared a free agent. He defected from Cuba in May, passing through Mexico on his way to Miami. Major League Baseball's rules on free agency versus draft eligibility vary depending on whether a player defects directly to the U.S. or through another country. The teen slugger is believed to have agreed on a major-league contract worth about $11 million -- twice what it cost the Sox to sign AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Alexei Ramirez last winter. Considering that he was Cuba's youngest ever All Star at 16 and was considered to be Cuba's top hitting prospect in years could make it a bargain.

The Sox have had the inside track on Viciedo because his agent is Jaime Torres, who represents fellow Cubans Ramirez and Jose Contreras. Hopefully, a clubhouse full of countrymen will help ease his transition into the majors -- if he doesn't begin his career with a stint in the minors first. He is just 19 after all, and even the Cuban All Star team isn't "The Show." But we still foresee him on the South Side sooner rather than later.

AP Photo