The Netherlands have surprised everyone by advancing to the final round of World Baseball Classic, and at least one Dutch player is reaping immediate rewards as a result of their success. First baseman Curt Smith has been signed by the Minnesota Twins, reports Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
While Kepner does not give any specifics about the contract, it can be presumed to be minor-league deal. Smith, 26, is hitting .375/.467/.542 with a home run in seven games for the Dutch squad, and has been a big part of their success in the tournament.
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The Curacao-born Smith is no stranger to minor-league ball. Selected by the St. Louis Cardinals out of the University of Maine in the late rounds of the 2008 Draft, the righty slugger spent three seasons in the Cards' system, making his way up to Double-A in 2010.
Smith spent the 2011 season playing independent ball in Nebraska, but found his way back into the minor leagues last year, playing at the Marlins' Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville. There Smith hit .261/.315/.440 with nine home runs and 17 doubles in 299 plate appearances.
Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens also told Kepner that the Los Angeles Dodgers "might pick up" the squad's catcher, Dashenko Ricardo. The 23-year-old backstop spent the 2012 season in the low minors with the San Francisco Giants, where he hit .253/.268/.333 in 47 games.