Cuban outfield prospect Dariel Alvarez has agreed in principle to a deal with the Orioles worth $800,000, he told MLB.com on Thursday.
Alvarez, who is waiting on the results of his physical, could officially sign on Saturday. He met with Orioles officials earlier this week at the club's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla.
"I'm obviously very happy to get my career going," Alvarez, 24, said from Miami. "Now, it's time to get to work."
Alvarez, a right-handed hitter who played for Camaguey in Serie Nacional in Cuba, defected from the island last summer and later played professionally in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was declared a free agent by the Commissioner's Office in January, and was cleared by the U.S. government to enter into a contract with a big league club the next month. Alvarez said a change in representation is part of the reason his appearance on the market was delayed. Alvarez admitted that he considered returning to Cuba, but changed his mind.
"It's been very hard with a year full of ups and downs, but I knew it was best if I stayed here," said Alvarez, who starred in a showcase in front of scouts last month in Florida. "I give thanks to God that it all worked out. I'm ready. I'll go to whatever level they want me to go."
Because Alvarez is at least 23 years old and has played at least three seasons in a Cuban professional league, he is not subject to the new international signing guidelines established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.