Torres Lands New Cuban Client

Miami-based agent Jaime Torres, who has represented Cuban defectors such as Jose Contreras and recent signees Yohannis Perez (Brewers) and Yoslan Herrera (Pirates), has a new client available to meet with major league teams. Alexei Ramirez led Cuba’s Serie Nacional in home runs last season with 20 and was a member of Cuba’s top-level national team for the last three seasons, winning an Olympic gold medal in 2004 in Athens and playing for Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team, which placed second to Japan. His birthdate has been listed as being either April 25 or Sept. 22, 1981, depending on different international tournament records. Torres reported the Sept. 22 birthdate in a call to Baseball America. Ramirez, who went 6-for-16 (.375) in the WBC, has played shortstop for Pinar Del Rio but has played the outfield and second base for Cuba in international competition. He hit .335 with a .574 slugging percentage this season for Pinar del Rio. "He’s going to be available to teams this Thursday at the Hilton hotel in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic," Torres said Tuesday. "He is in the process of establishing legal residency in the Dominican Republic. "I think this is one of the top two players in Cuba. He’s an exciting hitter who led the league in home runs and can play infield or the outfield." Ramirez, who played in Cuba for Pinar del Rio (Contreras’ old club), is married to a Dominican citizen. Once he establishes residency in the Dominican and goes through the U.S. government’s "unblocking" process–a procedure aimed at preventing Cubans from funneling money back to the Castro government–he will become a free agent. Here’s some video of Ramirez, whose official height and weight were not available,