Baseball agent Jaime Torres told ESPN that Alexei Ramirez, who led the Cuban league in home runs this season as an infielder/outfielder for Pinar del Rio, has left Cuba and intends to file for residency in the Dominican Republic.
Torres, who also represents White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras, said Ramirez expects to apply to Major League Baseball for free agency.
Ramirez, who turns 26 on Sept. 22, played second base for Cuba at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro but is primarily a shortstop and centerfielder.
According to Torres, Ramirez has been in the Dominican Republic for less than two weeks and is already attracting attention from scouts. Ramirez's wife is a Dominican citizen who recently completed medical school in Cuba, Torres said, and her citizenship allowed Ramirez to enter the country legally and makes him eligible for Dominican citizenship. The couple has two children.
Ramirez, says the agent, is comparable to Contreras as far as being "major league-ready" immediately after leaving Cuba. "Right out of spring training, Ramirez will make a major league club," Torres said.
Torres said that he and Ramirez would address the media at a Thursday news conference in Santo Domingo.
Willie Weinbaum is a producer for ESPN's "Outside the Lines."