Under 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.