Reds sign Cuban RHP Rasiel Iglesias to seven-year contract

Homers support Nuno in 6-0 shutout of Red Sox
Game 79: Gain Ground

According to multiple reports, the Reds have signed Cuban right-hander Rasiel Iglesias to a seven-year contract worth a guaranteed $27M. The team also confirmed his name is spelled Rasiel, not Raciel. There was some confusion about that. The deal will not become official until he secures a work visa, which doesn’t figure to be a problem.

Iglesias, 24, is a skinny little guy (5-foot-11 and 165 lbs.) who has been a reliever his entire career, though apparently the Reds are going to give the opportunity to start. Reports indicated that teams felt he could step right in to help a big league bullpen in the second half. Iglesias had been working out and holding showcases in Haiti, though there were no reports the Yankees (or any other team, for that matter) had interest in signing him. The deal with Cincinnati came out of nowhere.

With Iglesias off the board, the best available Cuban free agent is power-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas, who defected earlier this month. Here’s more on him from Ben Badler. Tomas will not be eligible to sign for another few months — he has to establish residency and be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before being declared a free agent by MLB — and from what I understand, he will be the last potential impact bat to come out of Cuba for a while.

Homers support Nuno in 6-0 shutout of Red Sox
Game 79: Gain Ground
  • Chip Rodriguez

    Completely off topic, but this is too good to not share;

    Stephen Drew – Ben Cherington Failed.

    • ALZ

      They are still looking for the Nomar replacement.

    • RetroRob

      The want for Drew far outweighed the reality of having Drew. RABers are lucky they didn’t get what they wanted.

      Although as I said yesterday, Drew is currently in Spring Training mode against pitcher in mid-season form. He’ll come around eventually.

    • willie w

      Scott boras has a way of eventually finding a fool for each of his clients

  • ALZ

    Was worth a look, but not going to complain that the Yankees didn’t give $27MM over 7 years to an unproven 5’11” 165lbs reliever. Puig, sure he had ton upside, this if you don’t think he can start really isn’t that spectacular. He isn’t throwing 100 like Aroldis.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I have to politely wonder out loud why this merits its own post, other than about his being Cuban. We’re mystifying the combination of being Cuban and playing baseball to a bit of an extreme here. Sorry, Mike. Still love ya.

    • ropeadope

      In his heyday, Castro could outhit Ruth and dance circles around Astaire.

    • whozat

      Well, a big league team signed an international prospect to a 7 year, 7 figure major league deal. Someone who may be ready to play this season, that some fans on the board have been talking about over the last few months. Just yesterday someone was asking where Cashman was on this. I think it deserves a mention. If it’d been a NPB player somehow, I figure it’d have deserved a post.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        This isn’t MLBTR.

    • Yankee$

      I have to politely wonder out load why this merits its own response, other than about his being Cuban. We’re mystifying the combination of being Cuban and playing baseball to a bit of an extreme here. Sorry, Tils. Still love ya.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        You’ve got to understand that, as a Cuban American, this smells of fetishism at times.

        • RetroRob

          Disturbed that you have discovered my Cuban fetish.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I see that well-worn Daisy Fuentes poster. Quit trying to hide it.

        • Yankee$

          I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt there. As an Italian American, I get a little hypersensitive to the mafia crap all over entertainment, and since the only import The States allow from Cuba are Baseball Players, I could see how you might uh, smell fetishism.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Thanks. :)

            It’s no big deal. Just been on my mind lately and had to speak up this one time.

            • Preston

              I think that there is an assumption that anyone who goes through the risk and trouble of defecting from their country in order to play baseball is MLB is probably good enough to be worthy of playing baseball in MLB.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Which would, of course, be a fallacy. Not a fallacy of the type that dude always fallacies to be, but a fallacy nonetheless.

                Even signing an MiLB deal would be seen as good enough reason to a hell of a lot of guys for risking their lives to get out of there. It’s a marketable skill and a quicker road to solid employment.

    • RetroRob

      I sort of see what you’re saying. He wasn’t on RAB’s radar (or pretty much any other news outlet until he signed), so why report on a player none of us were even tracking?

      I guess the question editorial wise is if this player was some unknown Korean player signed to a seven-year deal would it be reported here?

      That all said, I didn’t view it as some UFO-type post. There is a lot of interest in Cuban players now, and the Yankees are clearly in the market for international signings. More than that, I’m curious because he is such an unknown, yet the Reds just gave him a seven year deal.

      Hey, it’s a blog. He has editorial control!

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        True. I also will say that I rarely criticize his content, and actually feel a bit guilty about doing so. I also know he’s a big boy and can take a question like this from a loooong-time reader.

        It just gets a bit tiring to read guys coming on here and Cashmanfailing (it’s a verb now) over players whose names they often don’t even know, much less know their talent level. I wish we weren’t feeding into it. This is some dude and, in the absence of an actual structure around Cuban players, the market is doing strange things at the moment.

        • Yankee$

          Reds sign “some dude” RHP Rasiel Iglesias to seven-year contract.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            As some dude myself…… ;)

        • RetroRob

          Cashman failed became an RAB meme and is now mocked to such a degree that anyone who uses it seriously undermines their own post. If I wanted to criticize Cashman, I would never use “Cashman fails” because it would actually hurt what I was trying to say!

          Based on what is known, it seems likely this player is bullpen bound. A seven-year contract with an AAV of nearly $4MM for a reliever is not exactly something the Yankees need to do. That’s the type of contract the Cashmanfailed group embrace.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Yeah, this and the Diaz contracts surprise me. I sort of understood the Soler contact and, if things continue to trend the way they’ve been trending, he may make Theo look like a bandit there (until he triggers one of the 20 opt-outs I think are in there), but teams seem to be paying something larger than chump change on the chance one of the players turns out to be something more than a fringe player.

            Then again, didn’t the Padres just promote Despaigne, who wasn’t seen as a sure-fire major leaguer either? Who knows.

            I’m not investing in the Omar Luis t-shirt yet.

            • TC

              I can understand it. I can’t speak to each teams individual finances, but MLB as a whole appears to be thriving financially. The teams are fairly limited in where they can add talent by their place in the draft, and slot money/IFA allotment. Players like this is the one spot they can add talent with a the only obstruction being that teams own perceived, educated risk. You don’t really have to be great to be worth 4 mil AAV, and there’s the possibility at getting an incredible value, though it may not be likely.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Well put. At the end of the day, someone will take a chance on an unknown quantity at that price.

                Will the next market be masked ballplayers?

  • Matt

    I wouldn’t say Torres is the last impact bat to come out of Cuba for a while. I’m sure Alfredo Despaigne will come over at some point

    • RetroRob

      I didn’t quite get that statement. It could be true, although how does anyone know that? When players like Cespedes, Puig and Abreu came over, pretty much all the media reported how little was known about he these players. Then many of the reports suggested these players would have problems. They didn’t.

      It leads me to question the quality of the information.

      • Preston

        Trying to predict when a person is going to defect is a pretty tough racket. And any information that is coming out of Cuba is undoubtedly limited.

        • RetroRob

          Yes, and that’s basically my point. Not just on how good/not good the players are, but the very idea of predicting that Tomas will be the last impact bat to come out of Cuba for a while.

          I don’t think that can be known.

          • Cheval Anonyme

            MLB has tightened up the set of players who can sign without going through the IFA pool. Tomas is the last top player who is squeaking in under the old rules. Under the new rules, Cubans will need to be older and have more league experience to bypass the pools. That means there will be a gap as the younger players who just missed the old rules get the extra two years experience they require under the new rules.

            That’s why. And so, it is reasonably predictable.

  • Preston

    If they’re going to truly develop him as a starter then don’t they have to send him to the minors for a few years? Which means they’re paying him 3+ million per year to stretch out and build up to a starters workload in the minors (and he might end up as a reliever anyways). If not, then they just committed seven years to a reliever, I wouldn’t give Craig Kimbrel a 7 year deal.

    I like Yasmani Tomas a little. But I’m wary of his lack of athleticism. Cespedes came over hyped as an elite athlete who could hold his own in CF or be an elite RF. Instead he’s a poor defensive LF who makes a highlight reel with his arm occasionally. He’s an all bat guy (which is fine because the bat is pretty good). This guy is already a questionable OF, and he’s young. If he’s a future DH type his bat isn’t as hyped right now as Abreu’s seemed to be. Of course this is just my conjecture based on what I’ve read of other people’s conjecture.

    In other news, Jorge Mateo is taking over the world. He had 2 more hits and a walk and three more stolen bases today, he’s now 9/9 on SB attempts in 7 games carrying the GCL 1 Yankees to victory (8-0 on the season).

    • RetroRob

      I had the same thought. If they want to make him a starter, seems like he’s going to need a season or two in the minors, and who knows what will come of it.

      If he’s a reliever, than that is quite the commitment for an unknown reliever. Can you imagine if any MLB team today signed a reliever to a seven year contract? Some Yankee fans are having meltdowns that the Yankees gave Matt Thornton a two year deal with an AAV of $3.5MM, and he’s a lefty with a very successful track record and can still hit 97 mph.

      I think that’s what’s interesting about this deal. Who is this guy, why did the Reds give him that contract when it didn’t seem like he was on other teams’ radar, and if he can be a starter, why was he limited to being a reliever in Cuba if he has stuff that at least one MLB team thinks could make him a starter?

  • Mikhel

    “The team also confirmed his name is spelled Rasiel, not Raciel.”

    That smells fishy, the guy has always been presented as “Raicel Iglesias Travieso” both in the official cuban database of baseball players, in the telecasts, and as far as I know also in official papers presented by them.

    I hope it is not another case of a cuban presenting papers not belonging to them but procured for them from Dominican Republic by Cuban autorithies to make a player look younger or give gim “legal status”.

    That’s what happened to Alfredo Despaigne who last season went to play in México and this season he returned but the mexican department of immigration discovered he presented official papers belonging to a Dominican Republic person with his same name (seems like it is very easy to buy birth certificates in Dominicana with any name and birth date you like, and they are official because they add them to their civil registry database, unlike in México where that procedure is different and extemporaneous registry is way harder to do).

    Despaigne said he didn’t know and that neither he, nor cuban authorities had anything to do with that and blamed it on México, yet… he was who presented those papers and subsequently banned for life in the Mexican Baseball League.

    Now Rasiel “my name is not Raicel even though all my life that’s the name I used” happens? Mmmh maybe next time they’ll say he is actually 5 years older than reported in his “official” papers.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      It also may mean that the team on this end is still wrong.