Oscar Colás is headed to the Windy City…
The 23-year-old Cuban professional baseball pitcher and outfielder has agreed to a contract with the Chicago White Sox, adding another name to the team’s rich Cuban history.
Considered one of the top international free agents, Colás received a $2.7 million signing bonus. The team also announced it had agreed to terms with outfielder Erick Hernández in a deal that included a $1 million bonus.
Colás hails from Santiago de Cuba. He bats and throws left-handed and hit .282 with 28 homers and 116 RBIs in 187 games over his foreign league career.
Colás also has worked as a pitcher, but Marco Paddy, an executive for international operations for the White Sox, said he’ll concentrate on developing him as an outfielder.
“He wants to be a position player and he feels that he’s got a better chance to be successful as a position player,” Paddy said, “and we feel like his development as a pitcher would take much longer than a position player.
“So, for that kind of player with that type of power, that type of ability on the field, obviously we’re looking for a guy that has the opportunity to get to the major leagues a lot quicker.”
The White Sox have experienced a long run of success with Cuba natives that includes Minnie Miñoso, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in December, and extends all the way to their current team with first baseman José Abreu, centerfielder Luis Robert, catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Yoán Moncada. The team also has Yoelqui Cespedes, Norge Vera, and Yolbert Sánchez in the minors.
Colás said he talked to Robert, Cespedes and Sánchez before finalizing his decision.
“What they told me is this is a very good organization, that they’re very excited having me,” Colás said through an interpreter, “and that they just want me to join them and play hard as they are doing here.”
The 17-year-old Hernández is from Moca, Dominican Republic. He bats and throws left-handed.
The team said it expects to make more international signings in the coming weeks.
“We feel very good with what we were able to accomplish this year,” Paddy said. “Having the ability to sign two high-level prospects with impact-type tools like Colás and Hernández, I would categorize that as a solid year.”