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Baseball's international free agency often flies kind of under the radar, but given successes like, say, Felix Hernandez and Johan Santana, one shouldn't diminish its significance. It's a terrific way to add upper-level talent to an organization, and the Boston Red Sox are just the latest team to make a splash as they've signed Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra to a five-year contract.
Red Sox agreed to terms with C Adalberto Ibarra on a five-year, $4.3 million contract with a $1.5 million signing bonus.
Ibarra burst onto the international scouting scene in 2004, when he hit .429/.500/.571 and led Cuba to a gold medal in the World Junior Championships. He defected from Cuba last year and is now 23. The Red Sox have a few intriguing Cubans in their system now, including shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Jorge Padron.
Ibarra is a left-handed hitter who has flashed power to all fields. He's also been projected as a catcher long-term, and has made a career out of batting in the mid-.300s in Cuba. By signing a Major League deal, Ibarra is immediately placed on the 40-man roster.
As is usually the case, not a whole lot is known about Ibarra aside from the numbers and a handful of scouting observations, but be sure to keep an eye on Over The Monster for more information on the Sox' latest prospect.