Jorge Ebro reports that the Rays have signed 1B/OF Leslie Anderson to a 4-year, $3.75 million deal. Anderson, 27, a Cuban defector, tried out for 9 teams in February. Two of the scouts left the tryout “unimpressed” which likely kept the Rays in the bidding.
From Cuban Ball Players:
Leslie Anderson has been the best hitter for Camagüey. The versatile Anderson was used as a center fielder and then was moved to first base once Loidel Chapellí retired. Anderson has played RF for the national team. Anderson has gap power. He is not your typical slugger like Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols. Anderson could hit between 15-20 home runs at the Major League level if given the chance. He is a gold glove type first baseman, but I believe his value is in CF a position that requires less power than first base and in his overall versatility.
And here is a first-hand account of his workout in February:
“Leslie showed a below average arm while throwing from centerfield and first base. He ran badly from home to first base. During batting practice he hit several line drives, but showed no power. Defensively, he’ll need to play either first base or left field and hit with a very high average and lots of home runs, and right now I don’t project that he could.”
Hmmm? So the Rays first sign Hank Blalock and then give a Cuban first baseman $4 million? Anybody still think the Rays will re-sign Carlos Pena?
And yes, our first reaction to news that the Rays had signed “Leslie Anderson” was: He’s from Cuba?