cubaUnder the new front office, it’s a safe bet that, if there’s a quality Cuban defector on the market – particularly one not subject to international spending limitations – the Chicago Cubs are going to be interested.

So it is with the latest Cuban, pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, a former star of the Cuban National Team. Jesse Sanchez reports that the 27-year-old righty defected from Cuba in February, and started the process of gaining free agency last month. More importantly, together with the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees, the Cubs are listed as a team with interest.

Hinojosa throws in the low-to-mid-90s, utilizing a slider, curveball and changeup, according to Sanchez. He’s still in the process of getting unblocked by the US Government, a process that we all know can take some time. Once he’s unblocked, he’ll likely entertain offers for a period of time, and we might get a better sense of just how valued he is as a player.

Relatedly, Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – whom we’ve discussed before, and in whom the Cubs also have interest – will be throwing for teams tomorrow in Mexico, after being granted free agency last week, according to Sanchez’s report. As with Hinojosa, it’s hard to say just how big-time the 26-year-old righty will be until we start hearing whispers of offers.

… which we might not, because sometimes these things are kept fairly well secret until a guy signs.

Either way, I’d expect the Cubs to pursue both Gonzalez and Hinojosa aggressively, assuming they like what they see. The Cubs need pitchers, especially advanced ones, so they’re as good of a fit here as any team in baseball.

Last Summer was all about the Jorge Soler pursuit for the Cubs – at least as far as Cuban defectors go. Maybe this Summer will be about Hinojosa and Gonzalez.

In the meantime, the Cubs will have to be content to watch the last Cuban pitcher they signed – Armando Rivero – get his professional career underway at Kane County this week.

  • cubsin

    When Rivero signed back in March, Ben Badler of BA suggested he might start as high as AA. Instead, he’s been assigned to low A during their All-Star break. I hope he’s just been getting acclimated to the States and learning the Cubs’ Way in EST, and can move quickly through the system now.

    • Brett

      Seems like that’s all it is.

    • cms0101

      They could also be assigning him there so he’d be close enough to watch in person. McLeod has been attending more Cougars games recently.

      • Luke

        I suspect this is part of it as well.

    • Kyle

      This happens essentially every time we acquire a new amateur player. A pundit quotes that the guy might start “as high as X,” some fans assume that’s where he’ll start, then we get to find out he’s actually starting two levels behind.

  • Junior Q

    The “CUBA” picture should never, ever be replaced

    • Brett

      Never, ever.

    • CubbieBubba

      ..though the “cubs” logo in the outfield grass at hohokam could also sometimes pass for a nice “cuba” if they arent careful mowing that cursive s

  • miggy80

    I see the I-Cubs just announced that they will be hosting Team USA Vs. Team Cuba on July 18th. I wonder if Theo and the boys made this happen so they can get a look at any future defections.

  • Jon

    Conception was a disaster, and we missed on Puig and Cespedes. I’ll give Soler the benefit of the doubt, but so far Theo isn’t doing to well on the Cuban market.

    • Jon

      *too well

    • Cubbie Blues

      I kind of liked the movie. I just don’t know what it has to do with Puig, Cespedes or Soler.

      • Jon

        ? The relationship is that so far, Theo & Co haven’t been doing too well when it comes to the Cuban market.

        • Jon

          They should have tried harder for Cespedes and Puig and passed on Conception.

          • TWC

            Right. Because “trying harder” means the Cubs would have signed them.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Conception, is it better or the process of getting there? One is fleeting and the other you will have for the rest of your life.

          • Matt

            Hindsight sure makes everything easier.

        • Carew

          They do the best they can. You shouldnt spend 42 million on a player you dont know a lot about (Puig), and you cant predict the future (Concepcion)

          • Jon

            Of course they are trying to do the best they can. I’m just evaluating their performance.

            • King Jeff

              Just evaluating their performance, in hindsight, after the players have played in the states. It seems fairly easy to pick and choose which are the right moves in that scenario.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Come on Carew, I was having fun with that.

    • Norm

      By your definition of “doing well”, who is?
      My guess your answer is “no one” because there isn’t a team out there with more than 1 successful hit on Cuban players, and Theo is one of them. So if the Cubs aren’t a success, how can anyone be?

  • Kyle

    His Cuban stats are really disappointing. A guy with the stuff being attached to him should be striking out a ton more. I’m suspecting he’s being oversold severely.

  • mudge

    Cubs have enough defective pitchers already.

    • JM

      This one I like…

  • sven-erik312

    The scouting reports that I have read all say that Concepcion has problems, but they also say he has a very good work ethic and that he can make a go of it. It’s far too early to pass judgement on him yet. In a few years, then you can pass judgement, but not yet.

  • JM

    Seems to me that other countries like Cuba and Japan understand the principles of free market as well as we do. These players getting that much money because they ” look promising”, simply makes us look foolish.

    • Edwin

      I thought Cuba’s economy was a Planned economy.

      • JM

        I’m not smart enough to know embassy that means…

        • JM

          ***what that means***

          See what I mean?

  • JM

    I’ll tread lightly here, hopefully not offending anyone…

    My dad (R.I.P.) had a theory that Latin players will dominate for a short time, then lose their ability at a relatively young age. Perhaps because they have so much wear and tear on their bodies just trying to get to the big leagues.

  • James

    Its funny that everybody wants to dump on Theo for signing Gerardo Concepcion. Concepcion signing was more due in away for the Cubs to get Soler then anything else. It was reported for months that the Cubs were going to sign Soler. Before the signing of Soler the Yankees, Rangers, and another team I can’t remeber off the top of my head were making a push for Soler. Gerado Concepcion is best friends with Soler. I believe strongly that signing Concepcion was the way to make the Soler deal happen. After the Soler deal was done it opened the door for the Cubs to get a foot hold in the Cuban market.

    • AB

      “Gerado Concepcion is best friends with Soler”

      Where did you read this??

      I don’t really care about Concepcion. However, everybody keeps saying this to justify the signing, I just want to know if its true, and I have not read a single concrete piece of evidence to suggest this.

      • Kyle

        It’s an interesting theory, but no more than that. Anybody stating it as fact is going way too far.

        If it’s true, it makes the Soler signing a bit iffy. That’s a *ton* of money to pay for a prospect, even a fairly good one.

  • LouBrown

    Not only the whole “friends with Soler” thing, but at the time Concepcion did not look bad. I was excited about the signing, he was Rookie of the Year in the Cuban leagues, a lefty, nineties fastball, curve, and change. For Six million that did not count against any caps or draft pools I thought that wasn’t bad. Its always real easy to look back after the fact and point, but with the info at the time I had no problem with the signing.

  • Pingback: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Could Sign Next Week, But Teams May View Him as Trade Deadline Alternative | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Pingback: The Cubs Are Reportedly Unlikely to Sign Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Pingback: Remember Cuban Pitcher Dalier Hinojosa? The Red Sox Just Signed Him | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()