Cuban Baseball Newsbeat
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
With concerns about calcium, shouldn’t he think about heading to Milwaukee?
Praise has been far from faint for Rusney Castillo, who is considered to be the latest in a long string of impact players imported from Cuba. The highly regarded 27-year-old outfielder seems to be nearing a decision on where he will play, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes report that Castillo is expected to “declare his intentions any day now.”...
Castillo should be in line for an impressive payday, though it’s unlikely that he receives as much as Jose Abreu got from the White Sox last offseason. Represented by Roc Nation Sports, Castillo was said to originally be in line for a $25-$35 million deal, but it now looks like he will outdo the $42 million that Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers a couple years ago. According to Peter Gammons, he is now looking at a deal between $40 and $70 million, while FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pegs him as receiving something around six years and ~$50 million….
There seems to be a long line of suitors for Castillo, though the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, and Cubs seem to be leading the pack. ...
Those five clubs are far from alone in their pursuit of Castillo. The Mariners, Orioles, Giants, Astros, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Braves have also all been mentioned as potential suitors, and could wind up nabbing him when his decision is announced, likely within the next few days.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba.
Eventually, the players who leave the island establish residency in another country and are declared free agents. Workouts are scheduled, sometimes attracting 200 scouts and executives if the player is a big enough star.
Sometimes, a player may work out for a specific team, as Abreu did for the Reds when they wanted to see if he could play third base or left field (he couldn’t, at least not to their satisfaction, and with Joey Votto set at first base, they reluctantly dropped out of the bidding).
Eventually, a player signs pending a physical exam, which can be something of an adventure in itself. The Dodgers had to have someone drive Puig 1.5 hours across Mexico City to find an MRI machine. When the Reds recently signed pitcher Raisel Iglesias, scheduling the physical was almost a bigger obstacle than negotiating the contract.
“We were working on a tight deadline, and the kid couldn’t get a visa yet to come to the Dominican Republic or the U.S.,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty explained. “We finally brought a doctor from the Dominican, and a Spanish-speaking doctor we work with in Cincinnati, to see the kid in Haiti. But then they had to find an MRI machine in Haiti.”
It all got done, and now the Reds will hope Iglesias does as well for them as Chapman has. He was nearly as expensive, costing the Reds $27 million for a seven-year contract, even though he wasn’t as highly touted as Chapman (who got $30.25 million for six years in January 2010).
The prices keep going up, which only makes the decisions tougher.
“The gut feel has to be there,” said Don Welke, a top Rangers scout who has been to many Cuban showcases and was involved in the signing of outfielder Leonys Martin. “It’s huge risk, huge reward. As it’s turned out recently, whoever has taken the risk has gotten the reward.
“But some scout had to stick his neck out for every one of these guys. And you’d better darn well be right, because your owner is asking you why you want to spend so much on a guy you only saw in two workouts.”
Posted: July 14, 2014 at 03:17 PM | 3 comment(s)
Friday, June 20, 2014
Cuban authorities say hard-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas has defected, multiple media outlets reported Friday.
Tomas went 6-for-16 during the WBC with two homers, one double and four strikeouts.
According to official statistics, Tomas hit .275 for Industriales last season with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in the 90-game regular season and seven playoff games.
He dipped to six home runs while hitting .290 in 257 plate appearances for Industriales this season, but a source told Baseball America that may have been because of an arm injury suffered while crashing into an outfield wall.
10 HR in 90 games is a pace of 18 in 162 games. That doesn’t sound all that hard hitting to me.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Marrero was a bright spot on a bad team. He didn’t reach the majors until he was just a few days shy of 39, an age most ballplayers were well into retirement. The Washington journalist Bob Addie once wrote that Marrero “might have become a Hall of Famer had he been plucked at a younger age.”
In just his fifth big league game, Marrero struck out Boston’s Ted Williams with a dancing knuckleball. According to specious news accounts, he patted himself on the chest as he walked off the mound, saying, “Gude. Me want more money.”
Three decades later, a Post reporter visited Cuba and talked to Marrero about facing Williams. He told one of his favorite stories, about another game in which Williams went deep twice. The old pitcher would never forget: once off a slider, once off a knuckler.
“After the game, he put his arm around me under the stands and said, ‘This was my day,’ ” Marrero recalled. “I told Williams, ‘Every day is your day.’ ”
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