Friday, February 12, 2016

The Next Wave of Cuban Imports & Stars

The New York Yankees cannot sign an international free agent for more than $300,000 during the current IFA signing period and the next IFA signing period due to the fact that the team blew past their league-mandated restrictions during the 2014-2015 signing period. Just as an FYI the international signing periods go from July 2nd to July 2nd so the current signing period ends on July 2nd, 2016 and the next signing period ends on July 2nd, 2017. After this date the Yankees will be allowed to spend again and you have to wonder if the next two latest Cuban defecting imports will be available before that date or after that date.

The top two prospects left in Cuba reportedly defected the country recently and will look to latch on with major league teams in the United States. Yulieski Gourriel was an infielder playing in Cuba before him and his younger brother, Lourdes, slipped away from their hotel in the Dominican Republic and defected from their native country Cuba. Yulieski has been one of the most highly sought after Cuban players after showcasing his talents during the World Baseball Classic in 2006 which his brother wasn’t considered to be a slouch either drawing rave reviews from many around the Cuban game and MLB scouts alike. Yulieski is not attached to the international spending cap and prefers to play for the Yankees while his brother will have to be fit into the international spending cap handed down by the league.

Yulieski is now 31-years old and was recently seen playing for the Yokohama Dena Baystars for $1 million as well as playing for the national team in Havana. Yokohama terminated his contract this spring after Yulieski told the team he was injured and needed to recoup and rehab back in Cuba. Yulieski and his brother Lourdes went on to play for Team Cuba in the Caribbean Series but their team fell to Mexico just short of the finals. It was after the series and their exit that they defected.

Whether they will establish residency, presumably in the Dominican Republic, and be declared free agents during this signing period, the next or the next remains to be seen. This takes quite some time unfortunately and can be delayed for a slew of reasons so whether or not the Yankees have a shot at either of these latest Cuban imports remains to be seen. You would think that they would come in a package deal though so stay tuned as this all gets figured out. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)