On Wednesday the A’s signed two international free agents, both out of Cuba.
The Oakland Athletics have been involved with the market of Cuban players for sometime, before other teams began shelling out the big bucks to get Cuban stars.
They were ahead of the curve when they signed Yoenis Cespedes in back in 2012 and their interest in Cuban prospects has not waned.
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Ruiz was signed to a $2 million minor league contract.
Romero, 22, played for Guantanamo in the Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He was 9-7 with nine saves and a 4.80 ERA in 46 games.
He started 10 of those games despite being more of a bullpen-type pitcher.
Pitching all of his games out of the bullpen will likely help lower his ERA.
Pantonjas is just 20 years old. He last played in Cuba’s Serie Nacional two years ago at age 18.
While playing for Santiago de Cuba he hit .304 with a .429 on-base percentage in 19 games.
It’s a small sample size but his numbers are obviously very promising, especially for a team that desperately needs to improve their on-base percentage numbers, like the Oakland Athletics.
So the A’s have remained active in the Cuban market even as it has now opened up to the United States and players no longer are forced to defect from the island nation.
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