Ramírez agrees to four-year, $8M deal with White Sox

ORLANDO -- The Chicago White Sox and Cuban exile Alexei Ramírez have agreed to a four-year contract worth up to $8 million with incentives, pending a physical exam, agent Jaime Torres told ESPNdeportes.com on Saturday.

Three months ago, the infielder/outfielder received a monthly salary of $20 as one of the stars of the powerful Cuban national baseball team. His new contract with Chicago has a base salary of $4.75 million.

"Alexei is a great player and apparently he will get an opportunity to prove it with the White Sox," Torres said. "We are satisfied with the way things have gone. Alexei's life has changed a lot in just a few months."

In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where Cuba finished second to Japan, Ramírez had six hits in 16 at-bats.

Ramírez can play the outfield and some infield positions. He had collective workout sessions for scouts who work in the Dominican Republic. He also had individual sessions for the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics and the White Sox.

He was the home run leader in the Cuban baseball league last season but defected from the island in November to establish residence in the Dominican Republic.

"I always dreamt of playing with the best. When I got the opportunity at the World Baseball Classic, I told myself that I had to make an effort to play in the same league as them," Ramírez told ESPNdeportes.com recently.

In seven seasons in Cuba, Ramírez hit .332 with 87 home runs and 391 RBIs with Pinar del Río. In 2006, he hit .335 with 68 RBIs and led the league with 20 homers.

Ramírez arrived in Santo Domingo with a visa to visit his wife Ingrid, who is Dominican. The couple has two small children, Alexei, Jr., and Alexia.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.