cubaWell, 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.

  • mister_rob

    Seems to me there is a pattern

    Guys major league ready or close to it (cespedes, puig, darvish, this guy, etc) = we don’t get
    Guys slated for A ball or lower (soler, all the 16 yr olds we just signed) = we get

    Which tells me 2014 may be another throw away season

    • SalukiHawk

      I get frustrated when I hear people use the term “throw away.” If we were simply selling to build up and then trade off and rebuild again, that would be one thing. It’s called reBUILDING, and there are going to be bumps. And I’ll tell you something candidly, while I certainly don’t like the sub-.500 ball, I like the energy and spirit the kids are bringing over the listless, lacksadasical, underachieving play we saw when the overpaid veterans were taking this team over the cliff. Do I agree with or even understand every move Jedstein are making? No. But I also know that I have seen it tried many ways in my 30 some years as a Cub fan, and none of those ways were ultimately successful. If 2015 and 2016 do’t bring a lot of winning, and ultimately some trips deep into the playoffs, then we can say these seasons were lost. To do it the way they are doing it takes time, and personally, I am going to sit back and enjoy watching the thing develop. I would preach patience but such admonitions often fall on deaf ears.

      • Kramden

        Amen…. Jeddstein’s doing what no other Cub GM has ever done, but should have been the obvious solution to each.

        I think it’s great what they’re doing, know they’re on the right track and that the Cubs are finally in good hands. Unlike anyone before them, other than Dallas Green, these guys seem serious and committed to getting the job done.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        hey salukihawk one of the best posts ever written on this website. you get it. i have been a cubfan for over 50 years and no other FO ever i repeat ever has rebuilt. always overpaid or overthehill veterans.the results are in our 100+ year drought of winning a world series. so tired of hearing the whining and bitching of all these so called cubfans that want to win meaningless games now and never get to the promised land.i also know there is no guarantee jedstein’s way will work at least they have a plan and i also enjoy the enthusiasm of the younger players over the sometimes lazy play of jim hendry’s overpaid “stars” i.e. ramirez and soriano.

        • caryatid62

          The signing of a 26 year old potential 3/4 starter for less than $9 mil per season is in no way whatsoever counter to a solid long-term strategy.

    • http://Jplgxk AlwaysNextYear

      Of course 2014 is a throw away season. Honestly who really ever thought we would be competitive in 2014.

      • Brett

        I think, two years ago, it was reasonable to believe that the Cubs could/should go into 2014 with a team that looks about .500 on paper, meaning they would have a chance to compete with some luck (a la Orioles 2012).

        • nkniacc13

          Id have been really interested to see how Theo and Jed would have tried to rebuild this team if they had the old CBA to work with. Be very interesting to see where cubs finish and how aggressive they are in the offseason this year

          • Brett

            I bet you would have seen them grabbing tons of guys on one year deals whom they projected as Type A and B free agents (tons of relievers, for example), and would have seen them spend like unchained animals in the Draft. What’s interesting is that the CBA’s changes try to make teams spend more at the big league level in order to be competitive, but that obviously hasn’t impacted these guys’ strategy.

  • SalukiHawk

    And let me also point out that the book has yet to be finished on Cespedes, Puig, or Darvish. They look great, but they could peak or their performance tail off, and in any event, none yet has a World Series ring. All could eventually, but what really have any of these guys accomplished except some gaudy early-career numbers? For every George Brett and Oral Herscheiser, there is a Wally Joyner and a Fernando Valenzuela….guys who piqued early and never lived up to the early hype.

  • Awakeape

    He was a big gamble at that price. I am sure we had a ceiling and it got past it. I think the FO is doing it the right way. When you are one or two pieces away that’s when you roll the dice or overpay. It just doesn’t make sense at this point on a highly unproven player.

  • Joe

    I think it was Heyman, but could have been Rosenthal, tweeted last night thAt scouts saw him somewhere between mid rotation and long man. So kinda the same report as Justin Grimm.

  • CubFan Paul

    “Maybe they are being cheap, but I doubt it. The fact is…”

    The fact is: 6yrs $48Million is still below market for a starting pitcher. Theo did say they were “maxed out”.

    • Brett

      I am making myself available to all big league teams. Sign me. I am a starting pitcher.

      Is 6 years and $48 million below market for me?

      • Oswego Chris

        Maybe someone knows how the Cuban league comps to majors, minors, etc…but Gonzalez had a 3.78 career ERA, only K’d 6 per 9 in over 650 innings…

        Personally glad they sat this one out…

      • CubFan Paul

        “I am making myself available to all big league teams. Sign me. I am a starting pitcher.

        Is 6 years and $48 million below market for me?”

        I don’t get your joke/sarcasm.

        • Geech

          It’s not really a joke or sarcasm. Brett is making the point that not every “starting pitcher” is worth a MLB contract let alone a nearly 50 million dollar contract. As Oswego Chris points out above, Gonzalez stats at a lower level of competition aren’t very compelling.

          • CubFan Paul

            If those are the words you want to put in Brett’s mouth, sure.

          • Brett

            He can put them right in my mouth, because that’s precisely the point I was making.

            • CubFan Paul

              Well, way to be douchey about it.

              • Brett

                That seems like an appropriate response.

                • CubFan Paul

                  That’s what I said.

                  • Brett

                    That’s what she said.

        • Cubman23

          The point Brett was making wasn’t particularly esoteric. That means you’re either kinda dim or just being a jerk. Either way, I’d cut and run at this point.

      • ClevelandCubsFan


    • frank

      And many project that he’s ultimately a bullpen guy. That’s be a lot of money tied up in a long reliever.

      • frank


  • curt

    Yeah Brett I see yr point in 28 other teams passed too but got a cubs team somewhere down the line their going to have to pay for pitching why not him, but with limited info myb not but sooner or later they’ll have to take a chance on someone .

    • Dob2812

      Why? They have got good pitching already without paying for it. Pay for good hitters. Or just good players, I suppose.

  • MJ

    Apparently, the Phillies are about to get a big TV deal. So, they felt more comfortable taking this risk. I’m not losing any sleep over them not having signed Gonzalez, but it shows where a big chunk of the money is now – TV revenue. The Cubs can opt out of their WGN contract after next season. Let’s sit tight and see what happens.

  • Oswego Chris

    I don’t think there was overwhelming consensus that this guy was something special…I have read a few reports that put him at a ceiling of a 2 or 3 starter…and that was best case scenario, obviously they could be wrong, but I don’t think you are getting an ace here at all… lots of money to tie up on a gamble…

    And in the end you had two desperate teams fighting for him…

    • caryatid62

      It’s not much money at all, especially when this team is in line to have a $50-65 million payroll next year, and whose best prospects will be cost controlled for the next 7-8 years.

  • Korean goat

    Former cub’s reliever Esmailin Caridad came to the Samsung Lions of korea, for which Justin Germano played in 2011, and will pitch as a starter from next week.

  • 70’scub

    Thank you Bud Selig! The MLB system allows these types to get far more upfront cash compared to the American kid from these here United States.

    • JoeyCollins

      How so? This is not a kid, he’s a 26 year old free agent. If you wanna compare the July 2 signings to the rule 4 draft then the American kids get way more money.

  • Chris M

    I kinda wanna think the cubs are a little closer to contending then we think. If we would have had matt garza to start the season and a little better bullpen this might have been a lot more interesting of a year. I’d like to see them go after a top line pitcher who was young with good potential to compete for the number 1 spot in the rotation via trade or free agency, and maybe a little more veteran presence in the bullpen. maybe with a little progress from rizzo and castro and a little luck ya might have something.

    • 70’scub

      Seems like Theo is trying to increase the volume of young fastball first pitching to obtain a flame throwing bullpen like the Braves-Cardinal teams. Not old nibblers (veterans) who get behind in the count!

      • nkniacc13

        well if your a flame thrower you can get by a bit more with mistakes than a nibbler.

  • Rebuilding

    From everything I’ve heard and read (not to mention the Cuban numbers which are translatable) I couldn’t be happier we stayed away from this guy. My guess is that you could take about $35 million of that money and burn it for the production they are going to get

  • Johan

    This might be a bit of a stretch but by getting this guy (who was rumored to be MLB ready) the phillies keep a pitching needy team (like the sox) on the trade market. This might have been mentioned previously tho.

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