Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is set to sign with a Major League team this week according to reports, but if Patrick Mooney’s source is right, it won’t be with the Cubs.
Mooney reports that an industry source believes Gonzalez is going to wind up with another team, and the Red Sox are explicitly mentioned as one of the frontrunners. Although the Cubs have remained involved and have scouted Gonzalez heavily, the “overall feeling” is that Gonzalez is going to wind up “out of [the Cubs'] price range.”
I would have no problem with the front office deciding, given the way they’d like to allocate what resources they have, that Gonzalez’s price tag is more than he’s worth. Hopefully that’s all that’s meant by “out of their price range.” That is to say, I would certainly hope that, after three years of declining payroll and theoretically huge open chunks of payroll space coming in the near future (to say nothing of the expanded revenue streams that are expected soon with the renovation and TV deal), that a $50 million or whatever signing wouldn’t be too much money for the Cubs to handle.
Gonzalez makes a great deal of sense for the Red Sox. Not only are they always a major player financially in the international market, but they could really use a pitcher right now. Moreover, they could use a starter or a reliever, and there are questions about whether Gonzalez will be able to start in the near or long-term. Thus, for the Red Sox perhaps more than any other team, Gonzalez is a guy they know they’ll be able to use immediately (assuming he’s big league ready, at least in the bullpen). That might not be a huge portion of why he signs where he signs, but if some of the other teams in the mix – like the Cubs – don’t want or need him this season, he might be inclined to sign with a contender (and he might get a little more money from a contender).
We’ll see what happens this week, if Gonzalez signs. Because of the opaque nature of signing Cuban players, whatever Gonzalez’s price tag ends up being, we’ll probably never know if the Cubs were unreasonably cheap or prudently cautious. If they didn’t think the guy was worth $X million, then not signing him is just fine with me. If they couldn’t sign him, despite wanting him, because $X million was simply too much money, then I’ll be very disappointed.
But, as I said, we’ll probably never know which way that wind blew – assuming he signs with another team, that is.
After Gonzalez signs, we’ll see what happens with fellow Cuban pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, who should sign soon thereafter, and in whom the Cubs have also had interest.