- Enrique Rojas, ESPNdeportes
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SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic -- The New York Yankees signed Cuban prospect Juan Miranda to a four-year contract worth $2 million, the player told ESPNdeportes.com.
The deal, which includes a signing bonus of $500,000, is a major league contract and requires the Yankees to place the outfielder-first baseman on their 40-man roster.
The signing was confirmed by a Yankees official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"In Cuba I grew up dreaming of playing in the big leagues, but I never thought it would be possible, much less with the Yankees," the 23-year-old Miranda said.
The left-handed-hitting Miranda was on the Cuban national team from 2001 until defecting to the Dominican in early 2004 following two previous unsuccessful attempts to leave Cuba by raft. Miranda gained Dominican citizenship last year. He left behind his parents and three brothers in the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
Miranda worked out for several major league scouts in the Dominican Republic over the last two years, but it wasn't until last week, after passing a team physical, that he completed the deal with the Yankees.
"There were a lot of teams interested, but they didn't match my contract expectations," Miranda said. "The Los Angeles Dodgers were close."
"Miranda is projected to hit over 20 home runs and hit .280," the Yankees official told ESPNdeportes.com. "He doesn't swing at bad pitches."
Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.