Well, it doesn’t look like Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will be a Cub. Not that that’s a surprise after the last week or so, where the Cubs seemed to fall slightly out of the picture.
Jeff Passan reports that Gonzalez has agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies on a six-year, $48 million deal with a vesting option for a seventh year worth $11 million. Passan says the Phillies are believed to have outbid the Boston Red Sox at the finish line yesterday.
Although it doesn’t look like a huge sum, given the numbers that were bandied about in the run up to his signing, keep a few things in mind:
(1.) Our information on Gonzalez, as outsiders, was extremely limited – and it wasn’t much more for the insiders making the decisions, either. Signing him for 10s of millions was necessarily going to be a huge risk, and you have to draw the line somewhere;
(2.) If Gonzalez’s option vests, his deal will be the highest ever for an international player (Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka required larger commitments because they included a posting fee, but their actual contracts were less). Even without the option, Gonzalez’s deal is the largest ever for a Cuban defector, topping the $42 million Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers; and
(3.) The Phillies outbid the Red Sox on this one, so clearly even a deep-pocketed, pitching-needy (this year, anyway) organization felt like the deal he got was too steep of a price.
I say all of that as a pre-emptive counterargument to anyone saying, “that’s all he got? The Cubs could have matched that, but they were just cheap!”
Maybe they are being cheap, but I doubt it (and we’ll never know). The fact is, this was a huge sum of money – one that no other team appeared willing to match – given to a relative unknown. If the Cubs were just being cheap, then so were 28 other teams. We’ll see if the Phillies end up having taken a good risk.
With Gonzalez signed, a fellow Cuban pitcher, 27-year-old Dalier Hinojosa, is expected to sign next. As with Gonzalez, the Cubs have been connected. Hinojosa isn’t expected to command as much money as Gonzalez.