Cuban Pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is Officially a Free Agent – Cubs In? Price Tag?

cubaMiguel Alfredo Gonzalez is the hot name on the international free agent market, and, because he’s 26, he’s eligible to sign with the highest bidder, irrespective of any international signing pool restrictions. Throw in the fact that he’s a talented starting pitcher, and you’ve got a guy that the Chicago Cubs were a lock to be in on long before rumors connecting them to the righty surfaced.

Now he’s one step closer to signing with a team, having been declared a free agent by MLB, according to Jesse Sanchez. The final step is an unblocking license from the US Government, which Sanchez reports could come this week. Sanchez adds that Gonzalez is expected to throw for scouts again on Friday in Mexico.

Gonzalez threw last week in a performance that Jeff Passan says “wowed scouts,” working in the mid-90s and touching 97 mph. Although the price tag on Cubans is always tough to pin down – I’ve read that the professional range of opinions on Yasiel Puig’s value topped out at $42 million by the Dodgers, but sat as low as less than $1 million by other teams – Passan suspects Gonzalez is going to get a huge sum of money, potentially the biggest deal ever for a Cuban. It seems like it would be tough to top Puig’s deal, but who really knows?

Passan frames the pursuit of Gonzalez as an opportunity to change a race this year, though he adds that a team like the Cubs could bid on him as a long-term piece (which, yes, is exactly what the Cubs would be doing). If Gonzalez is indeed ready to pitch in the big leagues immediately, the battle to sign him does take on another face – not to mention the fact that it would impact the trade market for pitching.

In that respect, perhaps the Cubs would help themselves doubly by landing Gonzalez: they lock down a big-time pitching talent (if, indeed, that’s what Gonzalez is) and they ensure that a team desperate for a pitcher for the stretch run can’t pick one up without exploring the trade market (in which the Cubs will be heavy sellers).

Then again, if Gonzalez can help a contender in 2013, wouldn’t his value to a contender be much higher than it would be to the Cubs, and wouldn’t that hypothetical team’s bid reflect that value? It’s all very hard to say right now, and, unless more whispers emerge, I don’t think you can be surprised by anything that happens. Maybe the Cubs land him for a lot less than people think. Maybe the Cubs bow out because the bidding becomes insane. Maybe the Cubs are the insane-iest, and sign him for an unthinkably large number. Or maybe the Dodgers SIGN-ALL-THE-PITCHERS and give him an amount no other team can touch.

Or maybe all of this is hype, and he signs for a reasonable deal with whichever organization pays him the most/he likes the best.

However it plays out, it could be a very interesting next few weeks.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

79 responses to “Cuban Pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is Officially a Free Agent – Cubs In? Price Tag?”

  1. Patrick G

    There is no post or bid fee for him is there? And what differentiates someone who gets posting fee and who doesn’t

    1. Rich H

      Japanese leagues have negotiated with MLB to get paid for the talent that want to come to the US because of the rash of “retirements” in the 90′s to get out of contracts with their clubs. The posting system is just a way that the clubs in those leagues getting paid for a major league talent that they had a contract with.

      1. Patrick G

        Ahh ok thanks

        1. Jay

          Unfortunately, all that does is drive up the price for Jap pitchers beyond all reason. Yet another reason to go after this guy if he’s really all they say he is.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Are you ignorant, racist or both?

            1. Kev

              Exactly the question I was going to ask.

            2. MichiganGoat

              anyone remember “Just Aptitude Prepared”… if you were around for those “Better” moments take a second and remember… remember… remember

              1. Cubbie Blues

                Yes, unfortunately I do.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  as soon as I say that word I remembered that… now I have to forget it again but I’m taking all of you with me.

            3. BluBlud

              Cubbie blues, maybe he was born before WWII, and has been in a Coma every since and just came out of it recently. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just hope i’m right.

              1. Cubbie Blues

                BB, his comment was as racist as Marge Schott. Coma or not, it’s only an excuse and it is just inexcusable.

              2. MichiganGoat

                Would you do the same if someone drop the “N” word on here?

                1. Blublud

                  I wasn’t giving him an excuse, I was basicly saying that’s about the only way it couldn’t be racist. In other words, it was very racist.

            4. notcubbiewubbie

              maybe he is a world war 2 veteran.

              1. Alex S.

                Maybe he’s just a small town girl livin in a lonely world.

  2. caryatid62

    I could see him getting as high as 5 yrs/$60 mil in the new market. And, to be honest, I would not have a problem with the Cubs going that high.

  3. DarthHater

    I don’t think the Cubs will bid more than they paid for Soler on any guy who’s already 26.

    Of course, that’s just an opinion. I have no arguments to back it up.

    1. Jp3

      If he’s 26 in Cuban years, what does that make him in American years?

      1. Luke


        1. Jp3

          Thanks Luke, not that anyone from the Caribbean has ever lied on a birth certificate (Orlando Hernandez, ect…) anymore than American players have taken PEDS.

          1. caryatid62

            Except that plays leaving Cuba are subject to an OFAC clearance and unblocking license, which involves an investigation and full verification of age. Faking an age on that form would not only be significantly more difficult, but also a federal crime.

            1. Jp3

              So people wouldn’t brake federal rules for bettering their salaries in baseball??? Hmmmm…πŸ’¬πŸ’¬πŸ’¬πŸ’¬(Roger Clemons, Palmero….congress…). It happens, lets not kid ourselves

              1. DarthHater

                I hit the accelerator whenever I see a federal rule…

                1. Jp3

                  Always injecting humor Darth but….:)

                  1. Jp3


              2. caryatid62

                It’s not about “braking” rules. It’s about a licensing process and investigation. Anyone could TRY and fool the investigators, but it’s really, really, really, really, really, really, really difficult. If OFAC says he’s 26, it’s about 99.99999% likely he’s 26.

                And platitudes about guys who did steroids has literally nothing to do with this.

                1. Jp3

                  My reference to players doing roids is only because you said players wouldn’t brake “federal laws” for essentially getting more money. This is of cause is all like… My opinion even though it could be inaccurate

                  1. caryatid62

                    That wasn’t my point, actually. I never used the phrase “‘brake’ federal laws’”. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re willing to break laws. It has to do with whether or not they’d be successful in doing so.

              3. Jp3

                My point it can go even the other way… This prospect lied about it the other way to manipulate international spending caps.


                1. caryatid62

                  Did you actually read that article?

                  If you did, you’d notice a sentence near the end that reads “Torres also told Baseball America that MLB wants Diaz to present an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control before he can agree to a contract.” That is what Gonzalez is getting. That is the verification. That is why it is 99.9% likely that he’s the age he says he is.

                  1. Jp3

                    yes and the preceding sentences by the potential agent references what I’m talking about with who really knows their real birthdate. If the Cuban govt where he was born doesn’t know to a certainty how the heck do we know any more accurately?2Q==

                2. Rebuilding

                  Not to state the obvious, but in very poor countries in the Caribbean (and hell even here in the US) a few well placed hundred dollar bills could get you just the documents you need. We are talking about millions of dollars based on his age – that’s a small investment for his agent. Not saying it’s happening here – just that it seems silly to dismiss it out of hand when they are just looking at documents a poor government official in Cuba has provided

                  1. Jp3

                    That’s what I’ve been getting at, you put it much better than I did. It’s worth the risk for them and their agent to place a few hundred dollar bills for a document to say whatever the hell they want it to

              4. frank

                The difference is that the Cubans are being investigated and scrutinized more closely before they’re allowed here–that doesn’t mean it can’t or doesn’t happen, but Clemens, et al., had it easier. They weren’t being watched (by anyone who cared about what they were doing, that is) until much later.

              5. Kyle

                They would, but it’d be pretty difficult. We’ve had this conversation before (on this board, but not specifically here), but not all brownish people south of America live in the same place and in the same conditions.

                Cuba has an excellent health system with full modern record-keeping. It isn’t the Dominican. The only player to ever have an age controversy in Cuba was born back in the 1960s and managed to sneak it through. Since then, there have been no problems (that I can recall) with Cuban players and their age.

                1. Kyle

                  Derp. I should probably read the whole thread and see the other, recent example before I get all high-minded about there not being other examples.

                  1. Jp3

                    El duque(sp)! In all honesty I don’t really care about his age if he can pitchπŸ˜€.

                2. scorecardpaul

                  Thanks Kyle,
                  you just made me feel real old

            2. JulioZuleta

              It’s less of a problem in Cuba than in the Dominican or Venezuela, but it still happens.

  4. BD

    Any chance they sign him to then flip by the end of July??

    I jest… a little…

    1. Dynastyin2017

      Why, did he just have TJS?

      1. Kyle

        He is coming off of some sort of major injury, isn’t he?

  5. Rich H

    I think we are looking at a contract kind of like Cespedes’s just because he is suppose to be MLB ready.

  6. ETS

    Where in the world is….
    juan carlos paniagua

    1. someday...2015?

      I think he’s pitching for the DSL Cubs right now.

      1. ETS

        Well, I’ll be darned. He has 4.1 scoreless innings already

        Promote him!

        1. Rich H

          He should be in KC but VISA problems have kept in the Dominican. So I bet if the Cubs could have gotten him state side he would have had a lot more than 4.1 innings so far.

  7. Rebuilding

    I predict someone else gets this guy and then a rumor is floated that we tried really hard for him and finished 2nd in the bidding. Before anyone flips out – I’m just joking or at least hope I’m wrong

    1. DarthHater

      I agree, but you left out the part where there’s an initial flurry of Twitter reports saying the Cubs have already signed him that turn out to be completely wrong.

  8. JoeyCollins

    Please Cubs be the insane-iest. That is assuming they evaluate him as MLB readay starter as some reports are saying. Even if it takes a year ot two to adjust fullly his age matches the window the Cubs are looking for. I think the added value a team in contention might pay could be justified by the Cubs as pleasing fans. A big international signing, of a guy who can be at wrigley this year, will distract for a little while from how bad this year has been.

  9. BluBlud

    I doubt this pitches in the Majors this year. I would suspect a team signs him sends him to the high minors. If he destroys the minors, then maybe a late season call up. But if not, then i suspect he’ll be ready by ST. More so for the Cubs.

  10. Rebuilding

    I guess this might have the potential to slightly affect the Garza market if this guy really is MLB readyand gets signed soon. Not likely that a team (see Red Sox) would count on him down the stretch, but who knows

    1. Rebuilding

      *Gravatar check*

      1. Cubbie Blues

        I think it’s broken. All I see is an ugly mug with an attractive lady. :P

        1. Rebuilding

          Haha – then it must have worked

          1. hansman1982

            Why are you posting pictures of Tim?

            1. Cubbie Blues


  11. ari gold

    If this guy is as good as it sounds, it would be nice to slot him into Garza’s next year.

  12. Rich H

    I got a trade idea that keeps popping through my head this morning. Would it be good to see if Toronto would come off Cecil and Drabek for some starting pitching to take up some of the slack that injuries have caused this year? I know that Drabek’s value has plummeted but he is still young and I know how Team Theo loves Tommy Johns guys. It might be the best time to buy cheap on him. Toronto has gotten hot at just the right time to add pieces and has some talent farther down in the minors but I think guys like I mentioned would help more right away.

  13. Alex

    Might well go all out on Gonzalez. Considering the 3 best starting pitcher FA’s this offseason are Garza, Kuroda and AJ Burnett, I would rather have the Cubs allocate their money to a younger pitcher with more upside.

  14. Die hard

    If it sounds too good to be true …..

    1. Cubbie Blues

      You better get in while the gettin’s good?

      1. hansman1982

        When in Rome…

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Eat Italian burgers? Or, do you switch to cake?

  15. Rich H

    The question is (like most of the Cuban players) how long has he been away from baseball? If he has taken 6 months to a year to get cleared as a free agent then he won’t help anyone this year because it will take him a while to be in baseball shape.

    1. Jp3

      If he eats McD’s everyday for 2 years he could get into baseball shape…jk2Q==

      1. hansman1982

        I did this once and got into the shape of a baseball…

      2. TonyP

        Is that the Octopus??? He looks like he has a pillow stuffed down his shirt………….

  16. Die hard

    Immigration Bill before Congress may make it easier for players to play here

    1. Spencer

      You mean the one that might not get approved by the House?

      1. Cubbie Blues

        No,no. He means the Bill that has to get voted on by Congress then sent to the house to be ammended and voted on and sent back the Congress so that it can go into special committee to see if they can come up with a compromise and then congress will have to vote on it and send it back to the House to be voted on and then if it passes both the President has to sign it into law but if he Vetos it the Bill will have to go back through to overturn the veto. That’s the Bill that *may* make it easier.

        1. Patrick W.

          Not to be picky.. but I think you mean Senate where you say Congress. The House is part of Congress.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Ha, thanks.

          2. Cubbie Blues

            And pick away. I’m sure there is plenty. I typed it out without thinking much at all. It was more the long arduous process that I was getting at.

            1. Scott

              It seemed so simple on SchoolHouse Rocks

  17. cubchymyst

    What do people see as a good length of signing him for? I don’t think I’d go beyond a 6 year deal for him.

  18. Adam

    With the way MLB has changed FAs, draft picks, and international signings, I say Cubs should go hog wild. This is a chance to add value simply for dollars. No draft picks given up, not slow bonuses to worry about.

    Sign Gonzalez, and the next big free agent from Japan. Blow this team up, beat out the Marlins for the #1 pick, take Rodon, and boom the staff is fixed.

    1. Cub Style

      Rodon rustles my jimmies every time I watch him. Dat slider!


    Hey Rebuilding you took the words right outta my mouth. We will finish 2nd the bidding war. Yu Darvish, Cepedes, Puig and Anibal Sanchez all ring a bell. I hope we are both wrong.

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