An overview of some recent Cuban signings by the BoSox. Last Cuban signing by TX? Reinier Bermudez. I can only hope that the Rangers were very interested in some of the most recent Cuban defectors - the largest influx of Cuban players in more than a decade - but were Hicks-crippled.
Speaking of Cubans, Jose Julio Ruiz (26, 4/1) signed a minor league deal with ST invite. Texas was reportedly interested in him last year (search this site for "Ruiz"). He was thought to have a higher ceiling than Leslie Anderson but the reverse has proven to be true so far. Ruiz was released by the Rays during the off-season. A big LH power hitter in Cuba at 1B, he only hit 4 HR over 87 games between 4 leagues (DSL, AA, AFL, PWL). He also played some LF but given his size you'd think that 1b is his likely spot.
There were some questions about his work ethic, about being out of shape during his try outs, etc, so we'll see have to see how he looks in camp. Cuban defectors often have to sit out of baseball action for a year waiting for their paperwork to be approved (for residency, for entry and for applying to become a ML free agent) so that could have affected his play. It is a low-risk signing with some reward. Even with the power outage, maybe he turns out to be a utility type player at 1b/COF/DH who is a nice contact hitter?
Thad Levine had this to say:
"We did a lot of work on him last year," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We were probably runners-up when he signed. He's a guy who will probably start at Double-A or Triple-A, so we can get around him and see what he can do. That's not necessarily based on ability, but just getting regular at-bats."