We haven’t really touched on the Cuban defector situation yet on RAB, so now is as good a time as any. As you might have heard, Yadel Marti and Yasser Gomez defected from Cuba a few weeks ago. You might remember Marti from the WBC if you payed attention in 2006. He pitched 12.2 scoreless innings and racked up a pair of saves. Gomez has compiled some gawdy stats in a Cuban National Series tournament. Both figure to garner a bit of attention once they’re officially on the market.
As Steve at MLBTR noted yesterday, the duo will be open to all suitors. Of course, their price tags might make them prohibitive to some or most of the small market teams. Plus, they mentioned the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox specifically, so that might be indicative of where they think they’ll land.
The last time the Yanks and the Sox were both in on a Cuban defector, we saw the term “Evil Empire” born. “The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,” the disgruntled co-owner of the Sox said after the Yanks outbid his team for Jose Contreras. Unfortunately, it was an auction that in hindsight the Yanks would have preferred to lose. After pitching to a 3.30 ERA over 71 innings in 2003, he bombed in 2004, pitching to a 5.64 ERA in 95.2 innings while walking way, way, way too many hitters (42). The Yanks traded him straight up for Esteban Loaiza, who was even worse than Contreras — though he did fare well in his 8.1 playoff innings.
I don’t know anything about these players other than what’s been printed thus far, so I can’t make a totally-informed call on whether the Yankees should consider pursuit. I guess it depends on the market. You don’t want to give more than two years to either of these guys. They’re said to be 29 (Marti) and 28 (Gomez), but who knows how old they actually are. Unless we’re talking a Juan Miranda type deal here, my instinct would tell me to pass.