The Dodgers have signed promising 21-year old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year Major League contract, General Manager Ned Colletti announced on Friday.
"Scouting and signing talent in Latin America is critical and this signing shows ownership's commitment to reengage in the region and dedicate ourselves to getting stronger in this area," said Colletti through a press release. "We feel that Yasiel can be an outstanding Major League player for the organization."
"Yasiel is a fantastic kid with an infectious personality and we think he has the tools to be a frontline player in the Major Leagues," said Dodger Assistant General Manager. "He is very physical and athletic with raw power...he can hit it a long way. On top of that, he has a good arm and is an above average runner. We had a great team of people that worked to get this done and I'm proud of our staff."
Puig previously played professionally in Cuba for Cienfuegos during the 2010-11 Cuban Series, where he hit .330 with 17 homers, 19 doubles, six triples, 47 RBI with a .430 on-base percentage in just 327 at-bats. In the playoffs following that season there, Puig hit .370 in 46 at-bats. He was left off the team in 2011-12 after he made several attempts to escape Cuba, and he defected last year. He'll report to the team on Friday to complete his physical.
Puig is considered a five-tool player, and becomes the second big signing made by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, and the new ownership group. They signed outfielder Andre Ethier to a five-year, $85 million extension earlier in June. It's the Dodgers first large foray into international signings in several years; the most recent example being their pursuit of Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, on whom they spent three years and $35 million to lure to the United States before the 2008 season.
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