Because he’s been pitching at Extended Spring Training, you haven’t heard much about Armando Rivero, the Chicago Cubs’ most recent Cuban signee. Although the 25-year-old righty is not in the same class as, for example, an Aroldis Chapman coming out of Cuba, the Cubs gave Rivero a $3.1 million signing bonus, which is a very healthy sum on the international market.*
Now, we’ll finally get to see him in action. Jesse Sanchez reports that he hears Rivero is set to make his professional debut this week at Kane County. Although he’s expected by most to be a reliever long-term, he’ll likely begin as a starter, even if just to make sure he gets his innings in.
Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod spoke about Rivero back in March, and it will be interesting to see how he progresses in the Cubs’ system. Because of his age and relatively advanced experience, you could see him moving up the ladder quickly, and reaching the upper levels of the minors by the end of the season.
It would certainly be nice if Rivero emerged as a legitimate bullpen option for the Cubs as soon as 2014. They could use it.
*Because Rivero is 25, you’ll note that his signing bonus was not subject to the international spending limitations. Those limitations, and the fact that he was immune to them, probably served to artificially inflate his bonus to some extent.