Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, July 14, 2014

Knobler: Inside MLB’s Cuban Pipeline: It’s High-Risk, High-Reward

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.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 14, 2014 at 03:17 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alexei ramirez, alfredo despaigne, alrodis chapman, cuban baseball, cubs, dodgers, jose abreu, jose contreras, kenny williams, reds, scouting, white sox, yasiel puig, yoenes cespedes, yulieski gourriel

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. madvillain Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4750459)
Chicago has gotten 3.2 fWAR out of Abreu, He's making roughly 11.2 million this year and has already produced surplus value to the tune of 6 million, according to fangraphs cost per war.

I general, I think the Cuban guys are lower risk than a lot of players just because they've already been playing a AA equivalent for years, already see themselves as professionals, and are often highly motivated to succeed, getting off the island is prima facie evidence. Sure some of the scouting might be a bit limited, but the showcases do a decent enough job and that plus the years of fairly high level stats help narrow it down quite a bit.

Although, to be fair, the time to "buy low" on Cubans has probably already passed, Abreu and Puig have taken care of that.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 15, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4750792)
The Dodgers had to have someone drive Puig 1.5 hours across Mexico City to find an MRI machine.


If you know Mexico City, you know that means the MRI machine was probably about 6 blocks from Puig's original location.
   3. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 16, 2014 at 01:35 AM (#4751645)
no tag for Joe? he was quoted in the article and however crazy his posts may seem he knows his #### when it comes to cuban ball

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(672 - 6:57pm, Oct 31)
Last: Squash

NewsblogJoe Maddon is to become Cubs manager, sources say
(140 - 6:55pm, Oct 31)
Last: Andere Richtingen

NewsblogMLB.com - In pursuit of Maddon, Cubs dismiss Renteria
(16 - 6:53pm, Oct 31)
Last: Zach

NewsblogAP: Sandoval, Shields Among 121 Free Agents
(21 - 6:52pm, Oct 31)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogSending Gordon | Joe Blogs
(31 - 6:37pm, Oct 31)
Last: Don Malcolm

NewsblogRelix: Watch the Exact Moment the Phish Crowd Found Out the Giants Won the World Series
(6 - 6:37pm, Oct 31)
Last: Bhaakon

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(4904 - 6:35pm, Oct 31)
Last: Merton Muffley

NewsblogFull Count » Red Sox sign Koji Uehara to 2-year contract
(37 - 6:34pm, Oct 31)
Last: Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman

NewsblogNo, Alex Gordon wouldn't have scored an inside the park home run
(158 - 6:31pm, Oct 31)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogBoston.com: Youk Retires
(14 - 5:49pm, Oct 31)
Last: Bourbon Samurai

NewsblogStatcast: Gordon stops 90 feet from tying Game 7
(18 - 5:46pm, Oct 31)
Last: Barry`s_Lazy_Boy

NewsblogOT:  October 2014 - College Football thread
(545 - 5:43pm, Oct 31)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogAFL Saguaros at Rafters
(4 - 5:15pm, Oct 31)
Last: Mike Emeigh

NewsblogFree Agency Contract Calculator - Beyond the Box Score
(1 - 4:38pm, Oct 31)
Last: fra paolo

NewsblogDeadline: World Series Ratings: Game 7 Scores Home Run For Fox
(33 - 4:11pm, Oct 31)
Last: BDC

Page rendered in 0.2027 seconds
53 querie(s) executed