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Daily Archives: July 30, 2013

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez: Everything to know about the Phillies’ Cuban import


Gonzalez’s six-year, $49M deal is the largest contract ever given to a Cuban player.


Gonzalez’s six-year, $49M deal is the largest contract ever given to a Cuban player.

No one in the baseball media is quite sure if the Phillies are buyers or sellers going into the trading deadline this year, but Ruben Amaro clearly believes his team can still make some noise in 2013. To that end, Philadelphia reportedly agreed to terms with Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a right-handed pitcher, on a six-year, $49 million deal with an $11 million vesting option for a seventh year. It’s the largest contract ever handed out to a Cuban player, edging Yasiel Puig’s seven-year, $42 million deal from December 2012.

Gonzalez comes to the U.S. as somewhat of an unknown, so we put together a helpful primer on Gonzalez, as well as where the Phillies go from here with their Cuban import.

So who exactly is this Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez?
Glad you asked! Gonzalez, who is 6-foot-2-inches, 185 pounds and reportedly 26 years old, defected from Cuba early in 2013, a successful departure after a number of failed attempts. Those earlier tries at leaving Cuba landed him a suspension from playing for the Cuban national team for the last two years, as well as for his team in the Cuban National Series, the island’s equivalent of MLB. Before that suspension, he pitched for La Habana from 2007 to 2009, and for the national team in few international tournaments, including the 2009 and 2011 Baseball World Cups. After defecting, he went to El Salvador, then Mexico, and pitched in a few games for the Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican Northern League.

Wait, but if he’s an international player, how did he get such a huge deal? Didn’t the CBA eliminate those?
They did indeed, except for one loophole: Cuban players who are 23 or older and have played at least three seasons in a Cuban professional league. That got Gonzalez an exemption from the CBA’s international signing guidelines, allowing Amaro and the Phillies to spend as much as their hearts desired.

Oh, ok, thanks. So what does he throw?
According to scouts, Gonzalez boasts a fastball that sits at 93 MPH and gets as high as 96 to go with a splitter, a changeup, a cutter and a curveball. You can get a good look at his stuff via this video of him throwing in Mexico, which features a scout helpfully holding up a radar gun after every pitch.


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