Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez declared a free agent

Mo turns to two-seamer after recent struggles
Monday Night Open Thread

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.

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Mo turns to two-seamer after recent struggles
Monday Night Open Thread
  • BeanTooth

    Good to know. If the Yanks’ attitude about international free agents the last few years is any guide, we should see him pitching for another club pretty soon.

    • trr

      You nailed it Bean, and it isn’t it a shame….

    • Casman’s stalker

      Have no fear, Dante Bichette Jr. is in the system.

    • kenthadley

      yes, but these never pan out….better to save the money so we can pay Arod while the YES money declines along with viewership. Remember, follow the Wilpon model…cut back, then act shocked when attendance and ratings sink…but make sure we can make those payments on the family compound in Tampa.

    • pat

      Wah my team didn’t spend 100+ million for a pitcher, or 40 million for a guy they saw workout once. they only bought ONE seven figure amatreuer FA last year WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaa

      • Different Josh

        I really enjoy how people forget that we signed the numbers 2 and 4 top international prospects last year.

        • Pseudoyanks

          Not doubting or arguing but which two guys are you referring to?

          • Different Josh

            Luis Torrens and Alex Palma.

            • pat

              And my little mini rant should have actually mentioned they signed two seven figure prosepcts because they gave Omar Luis Rodriguez 4 million out of Cuba, dependent of course, on a visa.

              • Different Josh

                Cashman should’ve bought the visa too!
                Cashman failed

      • LK

        I think the “The Yankees should sign every international free agent” people are ridiculous, but given that A. Japanese posting fees do not count against the luxury tax that the Yankees are going to great pains to avoid and B. Darvish has been a fucking beast, that example specifically seems like a legitimate criticism to me.

        • pat

          I shouldn’t care because it’s not my money but it’s still 50 freakin million dollars just to sit at the table. 50 million dollar lump sum. That’s a lot of cheddar no matter how you slice it. It sucks that he’s beasting, but I’m not going to fault the team for not shelling out 100 mil for a guy who played exclusively in Japan.

          • jjyank

            I was in favor of trying to win the bidding and sign Darvish at the time, but yeah, I’m not really going to bitch and moan about the team not wanting to throw that much cash at a guy with no MLB experience.

            Do I wish they did? Yes, both then and now. But I understand why they didn’t, so it doesn’t upset me like it does some people.

          • LK

            I mean look, I don’t think it’s indefensible that they didn’t get him.

            However, I’ve heard people say so many times about how it’s $100M for a guy who isn’t proven. OK, yeah. He’s a potential 25-year-old ace. You know what that would cost if he were proven? Probably another $75M on top of that, oh and by the way, unless you want to suck bad enough to pick at the top of the draft you’re probably giving up your top 3 prospects, too. Was the move really, really risky? Hell yeah. The risk was factored into the price, though. And, as we’re seeing, the reward was pretty damn high.

            The book isn’t closed on this yet; Darvish might blow out his shoulder next start, and then it looks like a disaster. But at least right now, with all the rotation uncertainty next year and the fact that he’d only count for like $10M against the all-important 189, it looks like a mistake. (Part of my sentiment here is because I was on the Darvish bandwagon for years before he came over and was very disappointed they didn’t make more of an effort, so I recognize there’s a personal bias at play.)

            • trr

              Sweet Jesus, he’s starting against us tomorrow, we’ll be lucky to get one run

              • LK

                Damn I didn’t even realize they had to face him tomorrow. Well you never know.

  • Cashman’s stalker

    Don’t sign him, focus on using high draft picks on players like Dante Bichette Jr. Keep up the good work Brian. Love, me.

    • jjyank

      *sigh*

      Can’t even wait for the DotF thread, huh?

    • hogsmog

      Yeah it’s a shame there’s only one DBJ, and that hack Cashman was forced to pick three scrubs in the first round this year instead.

      He’ll never learn!

  • bill

    They cant compete with the big boys. The Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox want to win.

    Hal doesnt care about adding an additional players even if they could be stars

    • jjyank

      How’s that working out for the Cubs and Dodgers so far? The Red Sox are playing well, but they haven’t been to the post season in years.

      I’m sure Hal cares about adding a potential star player. They’ve been a bit gun shy for a couple years, but that’s still a ridiculous statement.

    • Pat D

      Did you fact check this post before you turned it in?

    • pat

      Boston really kicked our asses in when they signed Matsuzaka, didn’t they?

    • Jim Is (not) Bored

      Baaahahahahahaha The CUBS?!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Those three teams haven’t sniffed the playoffs in years. Probably not the best examples to use.

    • trr

      All teams want to win, Bill. It’s how they try to get there.
      When it comes to this, to me it’s a combo of skill, luck, & money.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Is he Cuban? Check.
    Had we heard of him before last week? Check.
    Is he a free agent? Check.

    Let the grave-rollin’ talk begin.

    • Different Josh

      The top of this thread is drool worthy. If DBJ ever googles himself…. Poor dude.

      • trr

        Imagine if ever caught fire and made fools out of us all?

        I can dream, can’t I?

    • MickeyP

      This is teh last Reggie Jackson. No one cares about winning. Dalek Jeter was teh last good international signing back in ’91.

      • Pat D

        Did you fact check this post before you………oh, wait, this is obvious sarcasm.

    • jjyank

      Amazing how some guy that we know almost nothing about, and haven’t even known of his existence for an hour yet, can spawn such pissy comments.

      • trr

        LOL, we’re fans!

        • OhioYanks

          I wouldn’t say that being a fan and being at least somewhat rational are mutually exclusive.

  • Steven Goldman

    I can’t wait till Derek Jeter buys this team and acts like he actually cares about the roster.

  • Pat D

    Obviously if the Yankees don’t get this guy it will be the ultimate Cashman failed moments of all Cashman failed moments.

    Oh, by the way, Cashman failed.

    • ExitCashman

      Exactly what did Cashman succeed at doing? He inherited a great team in the midst of a dynasty, had more money to work with than any other GM in baseball and, please tell me, what has he done that George Costanza could not do?

      • jjyank

        Hah, you’re funny.

        Also, check your sarcasm meter, buddy. I think your troll levels are interfering with your social software.

        • ExitCashman

          I’m dead serious, junior.

          • jjyank

            I’m sure you are. And I feel bad for you because of that.

          • OhioYanks

            The comment you replied to was not, senior.

      • Different Josh

        How about make the playoffs every year but 1? How about win 4 World Series? The Cubs have spent a ton of money. The Angels, the Dodgers. Need I go on. Its not only about resources. Yeah we make fun of his bargain basement type moves, but until this year where it became the organizational philosophy, those moves have been needed supplements.

      • Different Josh

        How about make the playoffs every year but 1? How about win 4 World Series? The Cubs have spent a ton of money. The Angels, the Dodgers. Need I go on? Its not only about resources. Yeah we make fun of his bargain basement type moves, but until this year where it became the organizational philosophy, those moves have been needed supplements.

      • Pat D

        I’m sorry you’ll have to open your mouth a little wider so I can hear you speak.

      • Rob NY

        Costanza could have had Griffey, AND Bonds in the outfield and really not given up that much.

  • LK

    It’s gonna be pretty hilarious if the Yankees actually end up with whoever the hell this guy is.

    • ExitCashman

      Nah. They’ll pick up Michael Young from the Phillies and call it a key move.

      • OhioYanks

        How much do you actually know about Gonzalez to decide that he’s better than Young?

  • Jose Candelaria Trespatines

    Hola. Yo soy internacional free agent. Yo quiero play for Los Yanquis, pero the jefe rolls en el grave. Yo no quiero jugar for team quien has fanaticos como el Greg y Eddard. Ellos son Los weirdos.

    Por favor mucho money.

    • Miguel Angel

      No fue gracioso, en lo absoluto.

      Translated: It wasn’t funny.

      If you wanted it to say properly in good spanish:

      “Hola, soy agente libre internacional. Quiero jugar para los Yankees, pero El Jefe se da vueltas en su tumba. No quiero jugar para un equipo que tiene fanáticos como Greg y Eddard. Ellos son raros”.

      In english:
      “Hi, I am an international free agent. I want to play for the Yankees, but the boss will roll in his grave. I don’t want to play for a team with fans such as Greg and Eddard. They are weird”.

      I mean, surely you can learn a second or third language properly and be funny in any language, but when you don’t and can’t handle another language, please avoid the lame attempts of making jokes, although your knowledge of Tres Patines indicates you at least know spanish and are familiar with that radio play.

      Have a nice day.

      PS
      For those who didn’t understand one of the jokes: José Candelario “tres patines” (“patín” is a rollerskate in spanish) was the name of a cuban character on radio in the 1950s (more or less), a 3 cents thief who was always scamming their so called friends (Rudecindo and Nananina).

      PS 2
      Tres patines was also the nickname of one of the best mexican pitchers of all time (Ramón Arano).

  • bpdelia

    Listen I’m not one who wants every shiny thing but Cubans and Japanese players ARE THE VERY LAST POSSIBLE way for the Yankees to leverage the one thing that they are better at than any one. Making money. In my opinion, with the amateur (international and draft) constraints on this team they should attempt to outbid everyone whenever a decent Cuban player appears. As long as these transactions are bonuses and not large annual MLB contacts the Yankees should exploit the last area where their money can be a crushing asset. This guy may be shit. But if he is a major league quality player the Yankees should sign him. The profit margin for the ownership group ifs grotesquely absurd (and that’s fine) but I don’t want to hear the Yankees lost a player because they were outbid .0009% of their revenue total. I cab even understand losing Japanese players because of the paying system but every decent Cuban should be signed because it’s the smart thing to leverage your one remaining area of supremacy

    • kenthadley

      Good points. NYY avoided doing this just prior to the IFA limits, and avoided using their monetary leverage to stock up, which is something Texas took advantage of.

    • OhioYanks

      I would say that you’re going way too far to the extreme in a lot of ways.

      The Yankees are good at a lot of things. When the new IFA rules came into play, they made their biggest splash in years by getting 2 of BA’s top 4 IFAs. After these rules that were supposed to ruin them came into play, they turned around and dominated the IFA period. It’s going to get worse this season with the unequal caps, but they’ll probably still get decent talent between their brand, relationships, and scouting.

      Despite all the whining, they’ve been producing decent talent on the farm since Oppenheimer took over.

      FA isn’t what it used to be, but there is still plenty of talent out there.

      Signing “every decent Cuban” is probably not a smart thing. Besides what would likely not be a great ROI, you’re only going to provoke the other owners to change the rules if you sign all of them. They have signed several Cubans recently, notably Mustlelier, Garcia, and Rodriguez.

      • bpdelia

        The Yankees have undeniably become risk averse on the big ticket items which for them is somewhat perplexing. They ate perhaps the only team for whom these bonus amounts are actually not a risk in any real sense. Mustellier and his Ilk are not what we are talking about here. We are simply saying that Cubans are one of the last places where unregulated money still rules. I was being facetious when I said sign them all. But I’m dead serious about powerfully leveraging the Yankees financial might. The cba has years to go and it’s entirely possible an international free agent draft is instituted. That would be a near catastrophe for the Yankees. Don’t worry about how other owners MAY react IF they are “provoked” by the Yankees using every means possible to bring in talent. The fact is of the last five or six big ticket “money only” UN capped international free agents every single one would have at least helped and a few would have been massively huge wins in value and performance. And on those transactions the Yankees have ranged from token bids, to outright failure to even negotiate. It’s troubling, frustrating and, in my opinion, terribly misguided

        • OhioYanks

          Again, I think that your views are a little extreme.

          An international draft wouldn’t be good for the Yankees, but I disagree that it would be a catastrophe. Plenty of their success in Latin America has come on reasonably priced under the radar guys rather than top bonus babies.

          Those Cubans were uncapped before, but now young guys like Soler and Puig will not be uncapped.

          There has been a nice run of success from top non-July 2 IFAs recently, but even there I think you’re going a little overboard.
          -Soler is currently doing well but not great in A+ at 21. Could go on to be a HoFer, could never record an MLB hit.
          -Chapman has made $9 mill for about 5 WAR across about 3 seasons. Nice value for a proven veteran, but not incredible for an unproven IFA. Also, how would the Yankees have handled his SP/RP thing and how would it have turned out?
          -I don’t remember Puig being as media hyped or fan lusted after as the others, though clearly he was lusted over by MLB teams. He’s absolutely killing it, but I’d give him a while before saying he’s earned $42 million.
          -Darvish is great and a very good value, but the investment was pretty huge. Maybe he continues to be great, but the track record of Japanese Ps arms holding up in MLB is hit and miss.
          -Cespedes could help the Yankees, but he’s a league average hitter so far this season. A nice player who is on pace for two straight 3 WAR seasons, but not an incredible value or incredible contributor.
          The Yankees weren’t going to be able to sign all of those guys. There are 29 other teams that have at least some interest. If they bid very seriously on all of them, I would still guess they get one or two. That may or may not be the guy or guys you wanted them to get.

          There’s the whole hindsight vs. foresight thing. Sure I would love to have those guys on the team. It’s hard to

          Then there’s deciding that because the Yankees missed on guys who worked out before they should now just bid on everyone available who is Cuban. How about making a case for this actual player?

          Finally, I don’t think that there’s much doubt the other owners would change the rules if the Yankees made a mockery of the system. Acting belligerently because you don’t know exactly what will happen in the future is not usually good business.

          • CS Yankee

            Awesome points made.

            Must have brains to go with financial braun or you’ll end up on the DL of life.

  • El Johnny D

    Assuming he’ll be ML ready as soon as he’s signed, it would make sense to sign him.

    Yanks are losing Hughes, Pettitte and in all likelihood, Kuroda after this season. That leaves Sabathia, Nova and Phelps. Who have all been inconsistent this year. On top of that, Yanks wont be getting Banuelos back and ready by early next season and have no idea what Pineda will bring.

    But this all just means some other team will sign him. A signing that makes sense for the Yanks is a signing what wont happen in this era.

    • OhioYanks

      Sure, but unless you actually know something about the guy that’s a pretty big assumption.

  • FEED.ME.MORE!

    The sadistic side of me is rooting for them to sign him, then he stinks. Just so all the “Spend money just for the f*ck of it” crowd can go and blame Cashman for signing him.

    The comments have been a riot.

    • bpdelia

      No one is saying that. What we are saying is that whatever another team bids on Cubans theyankees should seriously consider beating because it’s the last advantage they have in player procurement. I think people here tend to underestimate how huge the Yankee revenue stream is. Do some back of envelope calculations being conservative on parking, concessions, attendance, team store revenue, cable money, corporate sponsorship, radio rights etc. when one looks past all the different “companies” and uses logic to, you know, use common sense and pool these revenue streams you see that player payroll could be sustained at levels approaching 450 million per year and still be insanely profitable. The darvish posting fee looks like a rounding error for gods sake. I’m positing that flexing financial muscle in the last unregulated player procurement area makes BUSINESS sense regardless of whether any particular player works out.

      • Mikhel

        Even when signing youngsters from México it makes sense to give them 1.5 MM or more to sign, under the current rules, youngsters who want to sign with MLB have to be signed first by a mexican team (summer league), 75% of that money goes towards the team and 25% to the player; the MLB team only gets “penalized” for the amount the player gets.

        The NYY allowed good prospects sign with other teams because they were adamant to send their best scouts to check them, guys like Luis Heredia Jr. (whose father was a pitcher in Mexico, Japan and the US), or the nephew of Antonio Osuna, or last year the youngster Urías from Culiacán city in Sinaloa, México. Those three young kids were already good talents with the mexican representatives in little league world championships, and at 6 ft and 16 years of age, could already throw in the mid 90s MPH.

        Pirates, Blue Jays, Dodgers and other usually beat the Yankees to the pulp when it comes to international scouting (various teams designate one or more scouts to check on leagues around México and other countries). Right now, there is a young catcher (16 years) who has tremendous power, makes really good contact, has a cannon for an arm and could be a valuable asset, but unless he is signed with a slave-like contract by a mexican summer league team, he will waste his talent in a little league in northern México (2 hours away from where I live).

        • OhioYanks

          Their international scouting is actually considered pretty good.

          And they have had some real success fairly recently in Mexico with guys like Banuelos, Aceves, and Pena. Heck, even JoVa at least gave them some depth. A year ago they signed Rafael Ordaz and an agreement with Tabasco to potentially lubricate the way for future exchanges. Gio Gallegos has had success in the low minors and they also grabbed Luis Nebla. They have another Mexican arm, Dallas Martinez, who did well in the DOSL last year at 17 and has come stateside this season.

          One team just isn’t going to sign every single kid from a certain country. There are 29 other teams who also want to sign some of these guys.

        • RetroRob

          The Yankees are actually one of the few teams that reguarly scouts Mexico and has a constant presense there. I can’t speak to your other comments, but I know the Mexico comment is off.

      • OhioYanks

        There are a lot of comments up there that you probably don’t want to associate yourself with.

        Do you actually have these numbers to share with us? You may be right, but it’s a little hard to take random un-cited sources on blogs too seriously.

        The big issue with a $450 million payroll is that there’s a decent chance a hard cap would follow or a huge increase in revenue sharing. Baseball has the loosest rules in those regards in major US team sports.

    • kenthadley

      He should be blamed if he deems the player worthwhile and he turns into El Duquecito or if they decide to pass on a player who turns into a star. That’s where they are accountable. As fans, why wouldn’t you want your team to sign every worthwhile player? Who knows if this guy is a bum or not…it is Cashmans job to figure that out, and to be accountable for the results. Can’t blame George anymore.

  • Mikhel

    I was informed by somebody who was present there were at least 15 teams, and all signs point to the Yankees not being present. Unfortunately even when I live rather close to where the presentation was held, I was not present.

    And I will insist: Despaigne is a really good player, currently in Campeche, México (in the coast of the Gulf of México). Two days ago he had a huge homerun erased because the game was rained out before it became official (he also had a double).

  • Bruno

    Time to change the approach! Go sign him, Cashman!

  • FrankeeYankee

    I know there was great doubt about Cespedes and Puig. Cespedes is the real deal and Puig (yes, very small sample size) may be the next big thing. So it appears that the highly touted Cuban stars can play at a high level in MLB. Knowing that, if the scouting reports are favorable they have to take a flyer this time.

    I assume they’ve scouted him…

    • pat

      Cespedes is the real deal? .224/.290/.465 in his second year.

      • FS

        He’s been nursing a hammy so his BA is down. He’s a plus defender with power (15 HRs)and speed. If it could be done again you wouldn’t sign him???

        • The Doctor

          Not to mention even that .745 OPS plus YS3 park factors would put our current corner outfielders to shame. He’s less than $10M a year for a player who is at worst average and has breakout, All-Star potential. Given another chance, I think th deal would be a no brainer.

          Given that the 2014 Yankees are short a pitcher even if one of Kuroda/Pettitte comes back and Pineda proves to be fully recovered, I think they have to seriously consider this signing. He’s not getting ace money on the IFA market, so really all they’d need him to be is a mid to back end starter and they’d get their money’s worth. There’s always flame out possibility, but if they never take that risk, they’ll keep missing out on great deals for young players.

  • RetroRob

    If he’s actually viewed as a top prospect, the Yankees should go after him since there are no restrictions. This is where the Yankees should use their advantage. Recent history, though, suggests they won’t.

  • Bill O

    The reason to go after and spend aggressively on these kinds of free agents is because its the only way to sign free agents through their prime years. Fewer and fewer players are reaching free agency in their 20’s, barely any reach it in their mid 20’s and basically none reach it in their early 20’s. The international market is the only opportunity to bring in these types of free agents.

    While the risk of a bust is great, is the risk that much or really any greater than the risk of aging player hitting a decline?

    The Yankees aren’t built to build a team through the draft either as they’re not likely to have many, if any, top picks to bring in those elite level talents. This is why the team can’t get younger and in fact many of their best prospects in recent years have come from international spending (Montero, Sanchez, Banuelos, DePaula).

    Yes its a spoiled mentality to think that the Yankees can and should sign all of these international free agents, but they haven’t even been a player that is competitively bidding in the space for years and years now. And they’re one of the few big market teams with real spending power to say that. Even teams with little spending power like the A’s and Reds have made forays into a market the Yankees seem to be avoiding.

    Frankly this is yet another area that the Yankees have fallen behind the rest of the league in along with their no extensions policy. Hopefully this changes soon though.

    • OhioYanks

      How has the no extensions policy really hurt them? It doesn’t seem to be a real policy so much as a negotiating ploy. They broke it for Cano and offered to break it for Martin. How many other young extension candidates have they really had?

      The Yankees were said to be in on several of these players, so I don’t know that it’s correct to say they aren’t competitively bidding. They signed Rodriguez just last year for $4 mill. Really it’s a few super high ticket guys they haven’t gotten. Maybe it is a lack of competitive bidding, but it might also just be a lack of a fit over a fairly small sample.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    You could put together a winning ballclub with just the big IFA’s over the last 3 years. A rotation of Darvish, Iwakuma, & Ryu would be the best 1,2,3 in MLB. The Yanks really should become more active