Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to Phillies
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is going to Philadelphia.
On Friday, the right-handed pitching prospect from Cuba agreed to a six-year deal worth close to $60 million with the Phillies, according to an industry source.
Gonzalez is expected to get a few starts in the Minor Leagues but is close to Major League-ready and could join the team by the end of the season.
Several teams, including the Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Marlins, Red Sox, Rangers, Twins, and Yankees, expressed serious interest in the right-hander and almost every club had representatives at his two showcases last month in Tijuana, Mexico. Scouts have been watching him throw bullpen sessions in Mexico since April.
Because he is at least 23 years old and has played at least three seasons in a Cuban professional league, Cuban Gonzalez was not subject to the new international signing guidelines established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It’s already been quite a journey for the 26-year old.
Gonzalez fled Cuba earlier this year, landed in El Salvador and worked out for a month in Mexico City before making his way to Tijuana. He had been throwing full bullpen sessions in front of scouts twice each week for the past few months and took the mound for the Tijuana Toros twice.
Representatives for the 6-foot-3 Gonzalez submitted paperwork to the United States Department of Treasury for the purposes of unblocking him in February and began petitioning MLB for free agency a month later. Gonzalez filed a copy of his residency card from Mexico — the final step to becoming a free agent — to the Commissioner’s Office at the end of May and was cleared by the U.S. government to enter into an agreement with a Major League club last week.
The hard-throwing right-hander has a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, fork and a curveball. He made a splash on the international scene at the 2010 University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, and also shined at the Baseball World Cup in ’09 and ’11. He was suspended from Cuba’s national team for most of the past two seasons for trying to leave the island.
He threw his fastball in the mid-90s during his two showcases in Tijuana and touched 97 mph.