Last winter Kenny Williams and the Chicago White Sox signed a relatively unknown -- in the States, anyway -- infielder from Cuba named Alexei Ramirez. While most White Sox fans had absolutely no knowledge of the skinny import, Kenny insisted that the kid was the real deal and that he'd play in Chicago for years to come. Kenny knew what he was talking about, as Alexei hit .290 with 21 homers and 77 RBI in his first season in the Majors, and it looks like the Sox have a superstar on their hands.
Now what Kenny Williams wants to know is if he can strike gold in Cuba again. In June we told you about Cuban third baseman Dayan Viciedo after he defected from Cuba to America. Viciedo is the considered the best player the Cubans have had in a very long time, and MLB just gave teams permission to start talking to him. Though they may be wasting their time, because even Viciedo's agent says the White Sox have the inside track.
''[The Sox] have shown a lot of interest,'' [Viciedo's agent Jaime] Torres said. ''It seems they have done a lot of research. To be honest, they do have an edge having Alexei and Jose. If I were to tell you they didn't, I would be lying. They are an organization that got Alexei and are very happy. Chicago is a very attractive place.''
Torres is also the agent of Ramirez and Jose Contreras.
Bringing in Viciedo would make sense for the White Sox because they're moving on from the Joe Crede era at third base, and though Josh Fields is expected to take over in 2009, having competition around is never a bad thing. It seems far fetched that Viciedo would be ready to contribute this season for anybody, not just the White Sox, but the Sox felt that way about Ramirez as well.
He's only 19, but he did hit .337 with 14 homers for the Cuban National team at the age of 16, so maybe it isn't that crazy.