The Miami-based agent to Cuban defectors such as Jose Contreras and Alexei Ramirez, Jaime Torres, has yet another high-profile defector now in Dayan Viciedo, a 19-year-old outfielder who is generally regarded as Cuba’s best teen talent.
Torres said that Viciedo is in Miami with him. In fact, he asserts that Viciedo was in the U.S. before the 2008 draft, coming into the country in late May. "He was processed at the end of may. To me, he was not drafted and should be a undrafted free agent. We’ll see if the union agrees with me."
Of course, the fact that Viciedo is being declared as being in the U.S. is quite a gambit for Torres. Had Viciedo gone to Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic or some other nation not subject to the draft, he clearly would become a free agent. Now that he’s in the U.S., he’s subject to draft rules. The question will be whether he’s subject to the ‘08 draft, which would go the way Torres wants it to go, or if he’ll be tied to the 2009 draft class.
One scouting director said he doubted Viciedo would be made a free agent because draft rules are clear about who’s eligible and who’s not.