Cuban second baseman Andy Ibanez has been declared a free agent and is ready to sign with a major league team, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
Sanchez reports that Ibanez could come to terms with a team in a few weeks, after top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada signs somewhere. Moncada reportedly recently worked out for the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the other teams thought to be in the mix.
Baseball America reported last October that Ibanez had defected from Cuba and would seek to sign with an MLB team. The 21-year-old was ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Cuba by Baseball America last August, and BA's Ben Badler had this to say in January about Ibanez:
At 5'11", 183 pounds, Ibanez has a thicker build for a middle infielder but he’s athletic and has good body control. With fringy speed and an average arm at best, Ibanez isn’t flashy, but he has a good internal clock and a high baseball IQ, fitting best at second base. Ibanez’s power is mostly to the gaps, projecting as a doubles hitters rather than a big home run threat, but what’s sold some scouts on him is his bat.
Ibanez played for the Cuba national team at the 2013 World Baseball Classic and was the youngest player on the club.
- Molly Geary