Are the Phillies interested in another Cuban?
Reports say the Phils brass is interested in a young Cuban pitcher with stuff compared to that of a young Ramon Martinez.
After a "showcase" for Major League clubs in the Dominican Republic, the young hurler was said to feature dominant stuff, much to the excitement of everyone there.
The Phils were linked to outfielder/third baseman Yasmani Tomas, but he signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks this off-season. Shortstop/second baseman Yoan Moncada is the latest big thing currently being fought over by many of the big-money clubs. And a 29-year-old second baseman, Hector Olivera, is also making his way through the Showcase Showdown, impressing clubs with his abilities.
The Phillies were mentioned as the favorites to land Tomas for most of the off-season, so you always have to take these things with a grain of salt. That being said, Alvarez has electric stuff, especially what appears to be a devastating slider.
He's also said to have a plus-fastball.
cuban teenage rhp yadier alvarez threw lights out in DR showcase today. 93-97. scout: "big stuff." also big bucks comin.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 11, 2015
Of course, the Phils have enough money to sign Alvarez, although the same rules would apply to him as apply to Moncada. Since neither player is 23 years old yet or has played at least five years in the Cuban professional league, they can only be signed to minor league contracts, and international signing rules apply.
In order to sign him, the Phils would have to go past their bonus pool and pay a penalty on top of it. They would also be forbidden from signing any one international player to a bonus of more than $300,000.
For those asking, Rivera is subject to the pools & is very likely to sign before July 2. The typical big spending intl teams will be on him.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) February 11, 2015
I'm told Alvarez's paperwork isn't done as he's still pretty new to the DR. Expectation is that it'll take a month or two to clear him.— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) February 11, 2015
The Phillies do not appear to be serious bidders for Moncada, perhaps because they like the idea of adding a young pitcher more.
If they do sign Alvarez, hopefully they'll be more successful with him than they have been so far with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, their one and only big Cuban signing. Gonzalez will get a chance to compete for a spot in the rotation, but will likely spend another year either in Lehigh Valley's rotation or in the Phils' bullpen as a middle inning reliever.
Either way, it's another Cuban player we know nothing about that we get to dissect and fawn over for the next couple months.