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Cubs sign two Cuban junior national team stars

Cubs sign two Cuban junior national team stars

The Cubs have signed two former stars of Cuba's national junior team, and they now are in the process of obtaining visas in time to participate in the club's February minicamp.

A Major League source has confirmed the agreements with outfielder Rubi Silva, 21, and catcher Yaniel Cabeza, also 21.

According to Baseball America, the left-handed hitting Silva received a signing bonus of $1 million, and Cabeza signed for $500,000.

The slightly-built Silva -- he's under six feet and weighs around 180 pounds -- is recognized as a line-drive hitter with good athleticism, including plus-speed. With La Habana in Cuba's Serie Nacional in 2008-09, he hit .276 in 283 at-bats, with 10 triples and four home runs.

On the same team, Cabeza hit .195 in 82 at-bats, but is considered superior defensively and to have a high upside.

If the report of Silva's signing bonus is accurate, he becomes the fifth Cuban defector in 13 months to receive a bonus of at least $1 million, following left-handers Aroldis Chapman (Reds) and Noel Arguelles (Royals), right-hander Yunesky Maya (Nationals) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (Blue Jays).

Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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