Yes, this is a separate post from yesterday’s “Cubs are pursuing another Cuban prospect” post. This is just something the Cubs do now.

Are you ready to obsess about another top Cuban outfield prospect? Well, too bad, because you’re going to. Hopefully the window for this obsession will be much shorter.

Yasiel Puig, a 21-year-old outfield prospect who defected from Cuba last week, has recently established residency in Mexico, and is hoping to have that process finalized, and to gain free agency from MLB, in time to sign a contract before July 2 – when new international spending restrictions will kick in, dramatically limiting what he’d get paid. The Cubs, among many teams including the White Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, and Diamondbacks, are reportedly interested in adding Puig to their ever-growing stockpile of Cuban talent.

Puig apparently compares favorably to recently-signed outfielders Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes, at least according to his agent (obligatory winky face).

“You have heard the other names because Puig was in Cuba and Soler and Cespedes were out of the country, it’s that simple,” Puig’s agent Jamie Torres said. “Before Soler got to the Dominican Republic, very few people knew who he was outside of his Junior experience. Puig played in the Serie Nacional and was projected to be the right fielder for the national team for the upcoming years. Scouts know who Puig is.”

Puig is considered to be a bit more polished than Soler, having played at a higher level, and is more of a speedster type. Some call him the fastest player in Cuba. From ESPNChicago:

Puig batted .330 with 17 home runs, 47 RBIs and 78 runs scored in 327 at-bats with the Cienfuegos Elefantes in the 2010-11 Cuban National Series. Later, he averaged .370 in 46 at-bats in the playoffs, at barely 20 years of age.

Puig, who also was considered the fastest player in Cuban baseball, was left off the Cienfuegos team for the 2011-12 season after having been caught on several occasions trying to escape. He finally succeeded in defecting last month.

Torres is confident that, despite the exceedingly short window before July 2, Puig will be a free agent in time for teams to be able to go hog wild on bidding.

“We should all be on the same page by July 2nd in order to have the clubs evaluate him and sign a contract before the new rule kicks in,” Torres said. “Under the CBA, if the player receives documentation that he has established residency in a third country he will be declared a free agent immediately just like Cespedes. Cespedes supposedly established residency and the next day he was declared a free agent. I expect the same thing to happen with Yasel Puig.”

So, how involved will the Cubs be? It’s hard to say. For one thing, we don’t yet have a great grasp on just how much it’s going to take to sign Puig. For another thing, we don’t know whether the Cubs’ resources for this kind of spending are tapped after signing Soler ($30 million) and Gerardo Concepcion ($6 million). Further, while you generally ignore positions when stocking up amateur talent, it is fair to point out that, assuming the Cubs sign top draft pick Albert Almora (they will), they will have already added two top outfield prospects in the 18 to 21 year old range. Would they really want to spend top dollar on another?

Maybe. I’m certainly not ruling it out.

I do know that, if you had a limited amount of time to drum up as much interest as you possibly could, and to drive up the bidding, you would probably want to be dropping the Cubs’ name right now as an interested party. Again, I’m not saying that means the Cubs aren’t truly interested. But I’d be surprised (pleasantly) if they went to the mattresses against teams who lost out on Soler, and outbid them all again.

I’m sure we’ll hear much more on Puig in the next two weeks.

  • calicubsfan007

    Brett: How do I get in contact with HotStoveCubbies? I think he’s the “cat’s pajamas”! Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Anyway, I really respect that guy. Would he respond to comments under his blog?

    • Brett

      Probably. He’s also on Twitter (same name).

  • Cub Gone Wild

    If it only costs $30MM + a few extra $$ to sign him for 9 years like Soler that’s nothing to the Cubs. If I’m Theo I make deals like this all day. Nobody is going to get up his backside over making deals like this could be. Low risk and high reward potential. In todays baseball market $3MM a year is chump change anyway. If I was Theo I would borrow a Navy P3 Orion and start dropping Mark7 Life rafts on the beach in Cuba.

    • Steve

      CGW….that’s good stuff right thar….

    • JK

      Agree. $30M for 9 years of control is an attractive deal. Lot of things can happen in 9 years. Including a trade that someone picks up the remainder of the salary, etc.

    • calicubsfan007

      Cub Gone Wild: For 30 mil, I wouldn’t mind the Cubs getting as many Cuban prospects as they want!

  • Cub Gone Wild


    Theo has a checkbook and writing out $3 mil a year is like paying the electric bill on an apartment. Not the most difficult check to write. I think he should be willing to write a bunch of them if the players are available.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    He could basically field an entire team doing $3 mil a year over 9 years. It would cost him about n$70 mil a year to have the Cuban National team playing at Wrigley next year.

    • calicubsfan007

      CGW: And they would probably be good! The cheapest team in the MLB too!

    • Drew7

      Considering the level of competition, these guys have some developing to do. You want them here next year? You could call up the entire Daytona Cubs roster for a lot cheaper.

      • calicubsfan007

        Drew 7: At least we could see Baez then! Is he on Daytona right now? I suck at keeping track of the minors.

        • Cooper R


          • calicubsfan007

            Cooper: Thanks, knowing all the players in the Cubs minor league system is definetly not my strength. Thanks again.

  • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

    “Puig, who also was considered the fastest player in Cuban baseball, was left off the Cienfuegos team for the 2011-12 season after having been caught on several occasions trying to escape.”- ESPN

    Clearly he´s not that fast…

    • calicubsfan007

      TakingWrgley: That is an awesome joke. Love it!

    • cubmig

      …and from the “For What It’s Worth” Department:
      “Puig, who also was considered the fastest player in Cuban baseball…” played for the “cienfuegos Elefantes” –or– “Hundred Fire Elephants”.

  • MightyBear

    Question: If the Cubs do sign this talented young Cuban player, will Brett squeal like a Puig? Will there be jokes about him having a “mighty perty mouth”? Just asking.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    What is up with Players having a Y in their 1st name. It’s an epidemic Is Y in Latin America Countries similiar to J’s and M’s in the U.S now were people ordered to have their kids named with a Y in their name just odd

    (Yadier, Yuniel, Yoenis,Yaniel, Yasiel, Yasmani, Yimmy, Yorky list goes on.

    • Can’t think of a cool name


  • southern-side

    I think it’s good to stock as many assets as we can afford before July 2.

  • Kevin


  • cubmig

    One thing for sure, if Puig (should he become a Cub) and the rest of our Cuban player ever join the big club together, the sound system operators better stock up on salsa music!!

  • Vladimir

    Just buy all of Cuba before July 2nd that way by 2017 we’ll have a Cuban allstar at every position.

  • EB

    Yankees signed Omar Luis Rodriguez

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I would be disappointed if the cubs didn’t get this young cuban prospect. They owe it to us the FANS!!!! The team that is on the field is awful. The product that is out their is the worst it has been in a decade and we the fans still are paying the bills by filling those seats. We have made the commitment so they should too!!! I know they have have got Soler and Concepcion but if they preach to the choir about needing to put depth in the minors and they don’t do everything in their power to improve it then they are doing disservice to us the fans. They have the money. It may take Ricketts out of what he wanted to spend this on player budget but come on this is the last year they will have the opportunity to just buy players like this. And it doesn’t matter that they have plethora of young talented OF’s in the minor! The chances that all those guys pan out is slim to none! and even base case scenario all the guys have the ability to play in the major then you trade them!!! Game set match they owe it to all of us fans to go balls to the wall and not lose on these talented young prospects because the seats are being filled and the budget is the lowest its been in a couple years and is down significantly down. We aren’t going to get any big name free agents either this winter so, give us the top 5 international free agent prizes.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Kevin Goldstein’s report of Yasiel Puig: “Good, but not beast tools like Soler….Scout notes on Cuban free agent OF Yasel Puig: Physical, plus runner, avg bat, avg power, decent in CF, not a lock to stay there.” My guess is he goes to braves but I would love to have him.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Sounds like a Marlon Bryd type player to me

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