marcos mateo is antonia alfonsecaAnother year, another Cubs pitcher coming back from the Diamondbacks.

Last year, the Diamondbacks reached to the depths of the Cubs’ farm system to take Low-A pitcher Starling Peralta in the Rule 5 Draft before returning him to the Cubs in Spring Training when it became clear that he wasn’t going to make the team. Peralta then went on to have a largely forgettable campaign in the low minors for the Cubs in 2013.

This year, it’s the same story with Marcos Mateo, whose fate may have been sealed when the D-Backs signed Oliver Perez to a two-year deal, adding another arm (albeit a left-handed one) to a very crowded pitching picture. According to multiple reports, Mateo has been returned to the Cubs.

Mateo, who turns 30 in April, wow scouts with a dominant performance in the Dominican Winter League this year. He was coming back from an arm injury that cost him most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and could once again be a big league caliber reliever, as he flashed back in 2011. Back with the Cubs, Mateo is going to find the same kind of bullpen/roster crunch, and I doubt he’ll have a realistic shot at making the big league pen.

In theory, then, he could continue to pitch at AAA Iowa in case he shows electric stuff and forces his way up later in the year, or the Cubs might decide it’s time to let him find an organization in which he might have a slightly better shot of winning a bullpen job in the near future. We’ll see what happens when all of the paperwork settles, and the minor league rosters shake out.

Oh, and yes, he does look exactly like Antonio Alfonseca (sans the extra finger).

  • dabynsky

    According to AZ Phil’s excellent 40 man roster reference page, Marcus Mateo has the right to elect free agency if he is returned back to the Cubs. So even if Mateo is being returned it is possible that the Cubs will lose Mateo.

    • Brett

      I tend not to doubt Phil on stuff like that. It’s possible that the Cubs already spoke to Mateo before paying to get him back, and maybe he wants to stick with the Cubs. I guess we’ll see what happens over the next couple weeks.

  • Cornish Heat

    Alfonseca… Yes! That’s exactly what I thought when I saw that picture.

    • Fishin Phil

      Or as Harry used to call him: “Al Fonseca”

      • Boogens

        I think it may have been Ron Santo that made that mistake. Alfonseca didn’t start pitching for the Cubs until well after Harry died.

        I think what may have contributed to Ronny’s mistake is that he would confuse Alfonseca’s name with their former hitting coach from many years earlier, Lew Fonseca.

        • Fishin Phil

          My mistake. It all runs together after awhile.

          • JadeBos

            I prefer his nickname “El Poopo”

            • Darth Ivy


              • Dean28

                Not sure if it was spelled that way, but I believe it meant “The Octopus”.

                • Fishin Phil

                  El Pulpo = The Octopus

                  El Poopoo = Stinky Reliever

                  • hansman

                    Wow, mighty brave of you to use the word “pulp”

  • Cerambam

    I like Mateo, I hope he sticks with the cubs, he’s young enough (for a reliever) and has some nice, promising upside.

  • nkniacc13

    Another player without options? Gotta think that there will be a deal or 2 made at end of ST so that they don’t just lose a player

  • Sect208Row8

    While not the greatest pitcher alfonseca won me over when after a game he stopped his car with his wife and kids to sign 6 finger autographs for a good fifteen minutes.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      I, too, witnessed Alfonseca being totally cool and giving with kids/fans. I always thought he was overrated as a player, but after seeing what a nice guy he was I couldn’t help rooting for him.

      Funny how that works.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Is his Visa expired? Maybe can swap with Team Cuba for another deportee

  • Diehardthefirst

    Schierholtz to Mariners for Choi?

    • DarthHater

      Yea, a left-handed hitting 1B prospect is just what we need.

      • Diehardthefirst

        For the minors as he’s young with ability- insurance against Rizzo tanking

  • ruby2626

    Glad we got Mateo back, he brings it pretty good. Funny how once a guy hits a certain age teams forget about him. He wasn’t doing bad for Arizona, he pitched in 4 games, 4 innings with 1 run allowed. This guy is way better than that Peralta guy they took last year.