Last June, before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s international spending restrictions kicked in, there were a flurry of rumors and signings around baseball. The most memorable for the Cubs, of course, was the Jorge Soler Saga, which ended in a nine-year, $30 million contract with the Cubs. There was also Yasiel Puig, who signed for even more money with the Dodgers, and Gerardo Concepcion, who had a rough go of it with the Cubs after signing in January.
But there was a pitcher whose name came up during that period as a possible Cubs target, and then we didn’t hear much about him anymore. His name was Armando Rivero, and we probably didn’t hear as much about him because (1) he was 23, and likely not subject to those spending restrictions (so his free agency could drag on for a while) and (2) he wasn’t thought to be a prospect of the same caliber as the other hot prospects being discussed at the time.
Well, we can talk about him now, because it looks like he’s signed with the Cubs. Like, maybe a long time ago. According to Arizona Phil at TCR, Rivero is on AA Tennessee’s assignment list for minor league camp. He wouldn’t be there unless he’d signed with the Cubs, so … cool.
Here’s what I said about Rivero when I wrote about him last June:
[T]he Cubs are reportedly interested in another newly-eligible Cuban free agent, 23-year-old pitcher Armando Rivero. The right-handed power arm uses a three-pitch mix, and has a fastball that sits in the mid 90s, but reportedly reached the upper 90s in workouts last year. He was a closer in Cuba, and one of the better ones. At 6’3″ and 195 lbs, he’s certainly got the body of a power pitcher. Other teams said to be interested include the Yankees, White Sox, Dodgers, Mets, and Indians.
Given his advanced age, and role in the bullpen, Rivero is the kind of prospect who could move quickly up the farm system ladder.
Teams have been scouting Rivero for months, and, although he isn’t the prospect that Soler is (or even, perhaps, Gerardo Concepcion is), he’s still someone in whom plenty of teams have interest. We might hear more about him in the next two weeks.
He could be one of the more interesting bullpen arms in the Cubs’ system, or he could be a guy we hear very little about going forward. We never even heard about the signing, so it’s fair to wonder whether he received any kind of substantial signing bonus at all. The bonus would tell us a fair bit about how much the Cubs like him, so I reckon many of us writers are going to start asking around about him, and we’ll probably get an answer soon-ish.
Rivero doesn’t yet show up on the Cubs’ transaction wire, for whatever that’s worth.