Yesterday, we learned that 26-year-old Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez had been unblocked by the US Government, and is now free to sign with any MLB team (without any CBA-imposed international pool restrictions). The Dodgers are the favorite, though the Cubs are interested. Gonzalez could sign any day.
But he’s not the only Cuban pitcher on the market. Today Jesse Sanchez reports that Gonzalez’s former teammate Dalier Hinojosa has also been unblocked, and is similarly free to sign with any team. Hinojosa, 27, has previously been connected to the Cubs, among other teams. Although his ability/attractiveness relative to Gonzalez – who is expected to command a healthy chunk of change – is thought to be something less, Hinojosa sounds like a legitimately interesting arm.
As with Gonzalez, we’ll have to watch how this develops this/next week. If the Cubs manage to land one of these guys, you can figure they’ll see some development time. If a team that is active in the market for a starting pitcher lands one, you’ve got to wonder if they’re going to try and fill a hole immediately (and we’ll see how that goes).
Each pitcher will largely be evaluated, and then signed, on his own merit. But it’s fair to ask: would it help to land one if you signed the other? Assuredly, the adjustment to the United States and professional baseball can’t be an easy one, and it might help to have a familiar face along for the process (especially one who is similarly-aged, and could progress at a similar pace).
I’ve seen nothing out there to suggest that a package deal is in the offing, but it’s interesting in the hypothetical.