The Cubs went bigger than expected when international free agency finally opened Friday, officially signing seven players rather than just the five we’d previewed earlier in the week. Details are pretty light at this point, so I’ll refer you back to that linked piece and ask that you check back to see what our prospect guru Todd Johnson has later in the day or over the weekend.
Of the five we’d already known about, shortstop Cristian Hernandez out of the Dominican Republic is the crown jewel. The Cubs inked him to a $3 million deal, more than half of their $5.35 million pool. Catcher Moises Ballesteros from Venezuela is already showing decent pop and could really blossom once he adds more muscle. Outfielder Daniel Ferreira from the Dominican Republic is rangy and has a nice swing that may need some tweaks.
Carlos Cabrera is a southpaw out of Venezuela and outfielder Offerman Hernandez hails from the Dominican. All of these players are very young and will need time to develop, but they’re widely considered the Cubs’ best group since 2013 saw the addition of Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres to the organization. Feel free to insert jokes or jabs here.
And hey, we haven’t even gotten to outfielder Raino Coran of Curaçao or catcher Carlos Ramos from Venezuela. Baseball American doesn’t have any information on either at this point, though their player link on Ramos says he’s a righty pitcher from the Dominican who was born in 1990 and played in the Reds organization. That’s clearly a mistake, just wanted to warn you in case you happened across it.
Very little is know about Coran either, but he’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds and one of his two IG posts shows he’s every bit of that. The 18-year-old appears to have room to add more, though size and athleticism alone don’t make a baseball player.
If nothing else, this is an exciting bit of news in a winter that has thus far brought anything but for Cubs fans.