Via Bill Shaikin & Ken Rosenthal: Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been declared a free agent by MLB. He must first be “unblocked” by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets before he can negotiate and sign with teams, but that should happen soon.
Gonzalez, 26, threw for clubs on Thursday in Mexico and will do so again on Friday. Rosenthal says the showcase was heavily scouted, though it’s unclear if the Yankees were in attendance. The righty is said to have a mid-90s fastball plus a changeup, a curveball, and a forkball. Gonzalez has not pitched much the last two years due to suspensions following attempts to defect. Because of his age, his signing bonus will not count towards the annual international spending pool.
I know nothing about Gonzalez beyond what’s in this post, but Rosenthal touts him as “likely to be the next big thing from Cuba.” The Yankees have been very conservative when it comes to big ticket international players in recent years, and I don’t have any reason to think that will change with Gonzalez. We’ll find out eventually.