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Red Sox sign Cuban catcher

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 26, 2010 08:00 AM

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According to the Cuban Ball Players web site, the Red Sox have signed a catcher named Adalberto Ibarra to a major league contract worth $4.3 million. He is said to have an "elegant" swing.

It's an interesting move considering how highly the Sox think of Mark Wagner, Luis Exposito and Tim Federowicz. Ryan Lavarnway is off to a great start, too. But you can never have enough catching in the minors.

This post will be updated once more information is gathered.

UPDATE, 8:47 a.m.: I was able to confirm via agent Edwin Mejia that Ibarra has in fact agreed to terms with the Sox. More to come later.

UPDATE, 11:08 a.m.: The agreement is on a major league deal and Ibarra will be on the 40-man roster once he officially signs.

UPDATE, 12:46 p.m.: Ibarra is a lefty hitter and Red Sox scouts believe he projects as a better hitter than any of the catching prospects they have at the moment. Ibarra is 22.

If the Sox just invested $4.3 million in a 22-year-old catcher and put him on the 40-man roster, what does that mean for Victor Martinez moving forward? Perhaps nothing, but it is interesting.

UPDATE, 6:24 p.m.: Tracked down a little more info on Mr. Ibarra:

* He turned 23 earlier this month.

* His deal is for $3 million over five years with $1.3 in incentives.

* He's in the Dominican Republic now, waiting for a visa so he can travel to Ft. Myers and start working out and getting in game shape. Once he does that, he'll be assigned to a team. He could start with Salem or Portland.

* He is an advanced hitter in terms of approach and skills but relatively inexperienced as a catcher. The Red Sox feel he has the tools to be a good catcher but he needs to learn the position.

A secondary issue to this signing is that the Sox now have great depth at the catching position and could use one of their catchers in a trade package down the road.

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