cubaMy hands politely request that the Chicago Cubs do not sign that second guy …

Two more top Cuban players have left the island, defecting from Cuba with the intention of signing with a Major League Baseball team, per BA’s Ben Badler. Raicel Iglesias is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher and Erisbel Arruebarruena is a 23-year-old shortstop. Because of their ages and participation in the highest level of competition in Cuba, neither player will be subject to any international signing restrictions. Once they establish residency elsewhere, get unblocked by the U.S. Government, and are declared free agents by MLB, they will be free to sign with any team for any amount. As big-timer Jose Abreu’s process showed us, this could happen within about two months.

Badler has an extensive writeup on each of Iglesias and Arruebarruena, and each is worth a read. Iglesias is a smaller guy (5’11”, 165 lbs), and has been a dominant reliever in Cuba for a couple years. He’s got a bit of development left, presently throwing in the low-90s with a decent curveball. A team signing Iglesias is likely getting a relief prospect, as opposed to an immediate impact arm. The Cubs will almost certainly put in their work on Iglesias, who tried to flee Cuba back in September, but only just finally succeeded.

Arruebarruena is considered one of the top defensive shortstops in professional baseball in any country, which is what props him up in scouts’ minds, considering that most say his bat is a question mark (sounds a lot like Jose Iglesias). Given the Cubs’ upper level depth in the middle infield, Arruebarruena doesn’t sound like an obvious fit, even if he’s a “prospect.” But, when it comes to international free agents, I tend to think the Cubs will investigate all angles. And, who knows? It’s not impossible to imagine a scenario where the Cubs’ scouts love Arruebarruena’s potential, and would consider reshuffling things to accommodate (Starlin Castro dealt, Javier Baez moved to second, and Arruebarruena considered the long-termer at short – I’m not saying this is likely, but there are angles here).

We’ll have to follow the process on these guys closely to determine whether the Cubs are involved. I suspect we’ll hear a Cubs connection to Iglesias in short order, but maybe not much with respect to Arruebarruena.

  • Luke

    The Cubs won’t be able to resist tormenting me with a name like Arruebarruena. This is, after all, the team that made me learn to spell Szczur, Samardzija, Alcantara, Zastryzny, and two different spellings of Welington.

    Based on that history, I’d say he’s as good as in the system.

    • Edwin


    • X The Cubs Fan

      Guisepe Pappacio

      • Cub Style

        Nick Papageorgio

  • anonymous-ly

    Cheap, third tier, non-prospects that cost nothing but money? Consider Ricketts and Theo are all in.

    • SenorGato

      I laughed.

  • Die hard

    They are not defectors!!!!!!! STOP with this mischaracterization

    • BT

      OK, I’ll bite. What are they?

      • MichiganGoat

        He believes that MLB & Cuba are in a secretive plan to sell players.

        • MightyBear


          • MichiganGoat

            He believes the Bud has made a deal with Cuba to sell players and Cuba gets a finders fee. He’s been saying this for a couple years now.

            • Fishin Phil

              Yes, and they are each supposed to be bringing me 3 boxes of cigars. Where are my cigars, dammit!

            • Patrick W.

              You know, I actually find this plausible.

              • Die hard

                Thank you– another reasonable person

              • MichiganGoat

                You know what else is plausible?

                • Die hard

                  Does anyone realize the danger these players create for their families by leaving Cuba? Only if strings are attached will their families be safe. As they say on ESPN ….C’mon Man!

                  • MichiganGoat


                  • Greenroom

                    Danger, how so?

                    Actually from this older article, besides the horrible separation of the family. It seems that players, besides Ordonez discussed in this article provide cash to support to their families that are not allowed to leave Cuba. Plenty of issues for people who fail at defecting, such as house arrest.


                    “Like many Cuban emigres, most of the players send dollars back to their families, either through licensed travel agents or an established underground system of couriers. The remittances provide a desperately needed economic boost.
                    Beyond financial support, players who make it onto professional teams, even in the minor leagues, are also a source of great pride, a pride, however, often tempered with a sense of loss, especially for older parents, who cannot envision themselves emigrating.”

                    among other things. peace~

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Ah those pesky facts

            • SenorGato

              Dare I say it….There are far worse conspiracies and I kinda like this one.

    • Cubbie Blues

      defection – In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state in exchange for allegiance to another, in a way which is considered illegitimate by the first state

    • BT

      more importantly, why does this upset you so?

      • MichiganGoat

        Because it’s a secret conspiracy that he believes happens.

        • MightyBear

          LOL I like how you interpret for him – “Excuse me miss, I speak Die Hard.”

  • oswego chris

    intrigued by the pitcher

    • MightyBear


    • DocPeterWimsey

      $5 says that the Dodgers are, too, because, well: when aren’t they?

  • CubChymyst

    A strong defensive short stop with a light bat is still useful. If the Cubs sign him, he could become trade fodder down the line. Still like to see the Cubs collect as many assets as possible, especially if they can get them without using a 40 man spot.

    • Blublud

      The Cubs and every other organization has like “400,000,000” light hitting, decent to very good, defensive SS a peice. If we can get him, fine. But if his price is any more then a couple hundred thousand, which more than likely it will be, I’ll pass.

      The pitcher on the other hand, you can never have to many bullpen arms.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      We already have one of those…he just happens to be playing second base right now.

  • Justin

    Intrigued by the pitcher, and the ad at the bottom.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Castro and Vitters to the Mets for RHP Montero, 2B Murphy, C Plawicki, RHP Walters.
    Then Samardzija and Schierholtz to D-Backs for LHP Skaggs, LHP Holmberg, OF Eaton, and SS Pennington.
    Eaton , Murphy, Rizzo, Olt/Bryant, Sweeney, Castillo, Lake, Pennington starting lineup with rotation of Montero, Wood, Arrieta, Skaggs, and Jackson.

  • EuroCub

    Cubbies should follow that SS as well. Castro is not given to bounce back to what he actually can do as shown per 2011. Worst case scenario, you sign that kid, develop him a bit more and flip him. Within reason obviously. But you cant be sure Renteria will make Castro a great young SS he once was. His story so far reminds me of Soto… Tons of potential, but still underachieving. His Texas numbers dont drop my jaw and i dont think they will, any time soon.
    So go for both of them is what i’d say.

    • TSB

      Wow, Castro, Rizzo, Lake, all washed up in their early to mid twenties. Just think of everyone (including those that post here) was held to the same standards. Not a success by the time you are 25? Loser for life…

      • EuroCub

        I think it’s way to early to give up on Rizzo or Lake for that matter. However Castro has shown a worrying trends. Hence pretty much most consider him a biggest issue right now. No one has expected Rizzo to hit as many homers as he did. Yes, ultimately, as a whole team, he failed to produce when it mattered, then again i think he will hit less HRs next season, however, he will produce more in RISP situation. I still get puzzled by his batting stance thou 😀
        Lake was a guy that got a success thanks to the pitchers not really knowing him. He will need to put in some heavy work to continue his success and hopefully he won’t follow Castro’s path.
        Now dpown to Starlin… Lot’s of potential, but even more errors so far. He really needs to refocus and adjust, otherwise he is a talent wasted in the making and had it been 10-15 years ago, he’d start juicing.

        Go Cubbies!

        • mjhurdle

          Castro’s fielding % has increased every year in the majors, so im slightly confused was to where the “even more errors so far” part is coming from.

  • Sect209Row15

    Soto was a different story altogether. I believe he was juiced coming out of the minors, his last year there he hit a crazy number of homers. Won ROY, smoked lotsa weed, got fat and underperformed. Then lost the weight, gave up the juice and showed what he really is.

    • Rebuilding

      LOL…nice summary on Soto

  • Edwin

    The pitcher seems ok, I’m just not sure it’s worth it to spend much money on a RP prospect.

  • Jon

    Die hard is communist

  • jj

    Sign all the Cubans!

    • Brains

      These 50 year old trade sanctions are more ridiculous and contrived than the McRib sandwich. Open the borders, Cuba rules!

  • ECH

    the pitcher is only 165 lbs and hits mid 90s,can you imagine him with 20-25 more lbs

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