NEW YORK: Yasmany Tomas, a star Cuban outfielder who fled his homeland last July for Haiti, has agreed to a Major League Baseball contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the league’s website reported Wednesday.
The 24-year-old standout will make $68.5 million (54.7 million euros) over six seasons with the National League club, which did not immediately confirm the report, which cited unnamed sources.
The Diamondbacks were 64-98 last season, the worst record in Major League Baseball.
Tomas, the son of a truck driver, played five seasons for Havana’s Industriales in the Cuban league, hitting 30 home runs with 104 runs batted in over 205 games.
Details about how Tomas escaped his Communist island homeland are not known, but he established residency in Haiti and received US government permission to sign a deal with an American club in September, shortly before he became a free agent.
Under major league rules, had he established US residency, Tomas would have been subject to being taken in the league draft. By going to another country, he was able to become a free agent and make a deal with the highest bidder.
There were several interested teams, with scouts from all 30 major league teams watching him in a September workout. He later had private workouts for 10 other clubs, including the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, American League champion Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox amongst others.