Padres News: Interest in Cuban Andy Ibanez

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As Jedd Gyorko continues to struggle at the plate, the rumors are heating up that General Manager A.J. Preller might be seeking a replacement. One option could be Cuban prospect, Andy Ibanez, who was part of four Cubans participating in workouts at the University of Miami as reported by Steve Adams on MLBTradeRumors.com.

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Ibanez is 22 years old and defected last December to the Dominican Republic. He is not especially seen as a superstar second baseman but compares favorably to guys like Omar Infante and Howie Kendrick, and many teams are looking for just what he can provide at second base. Solid, reliable contact with some power and good defense. In three seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, he averaged a .283 batting average, .348 on-base percentage, and .419 slugging percentage. He has 80 extra-base hits over those three seasons including 29 doubles in 2012 in his age 20 season. He did not play professionally in 2014.

Also at the workout were left-handed pitcher Ariel Miranda, outfielder Gelkis Jimenez and catcher Lednier Ricardo. These three don’t carry nearly as much hype and it will be interesting to see how the players coming out of Cuba change, now that relations between the two countries are getting softer. Will the market be flooded and diluted with international prospects?

Take Yasmany Tomas. He was signed this off-season to a six year $68M by the Arizona Diamondbacks after the Padres failed to win the bid to sign him. Are you thankful now Padres fans? The Diamondbacks were hoping he could play third base but that was deemed not an option after seeing him play third base in spring training. Which means that Arizona would be forced to have him play in the outfield for them – along with Mark Trumbo. Talk about defensive holes in the outfield.

His spring training wasn’t inspiring and the Arizona GM said that he needed to get in better shape so he was sent to AAA to start the season. He was called up this week and will be utilized as a bench bat. Maybe Melvin Upton Jr. won’t  be the most expensive bench bat in the NL West after all. A cautionary tale?

So perhaps Padres fans should be careful what they wish for in international signings. For every Yasiel Puig might be a (so far) Yasmany Tomas. While you can never have enough prospects in your system, as more Cuban players are paid large sums and don’t make immediate splashes, teams might be more careful as time goes on.

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