XVI Pan American Games - Day 11

There hasn’t been much written around here about free agent pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez just yet, because there isn’t a whole lot out there to be known, but apparently the Jays are now being listed among the clubs that are serious suitors for the pitcher.

The internet at large has gathered this much: Gonzalez is Cuban, 26 years old, a free agent not bound by MLB’s international amateur spending limits, and apparently a hell of a pitcher.

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com suggests he could sign next week– he isn’t permitted to until Monday– and describes him thusly:

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 also explains that “the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are among the teams that have expressed serious interest in signing the 26-year-old. The Phillies, Blue Jays and Braves are also in the hunt to acquire him.”

What little I did write about him here came back at the end of last month, when Danny Knobler– the Knobler!– of CBS Sports noted that scouts were headed to Tijuana to watch him pitch, and that Gonzalez could command as much as $60-million.

The report from MLB.com is technically the first time that the Jays have been linked to the pitcher as serious suitors, but at the time of the post above I noted that a reader had spotted Alex Anthopoulos boarding a plan for San Diego, which Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun later confirmed, via Twitter, was indeed a trip to see Gonzalez pitch.

MLBTR has been following the saga, and suggested when linking Sanchez’s piece that the Jays, Phillies and Braves are “a trio of new teams in the mix for Gonzalez.” It’s been strongly believed from the get-go that the Dodgers and all their money are the favourites to land the pitcher– whose addition Sanchez says scouts believe “would be similar to acquiring a top pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline”– but hey… you never know, right?

They Jays¬†did pony up to land Adeiny Hechavarria early in AA’s tenure, and Anthopoulos has expressed regret that he didn’t bid high enough on another Cuban defector, Aroldis Chapman, who turned out to be… y’know… pretty ridiculously good. Maybe he’ll be determined not to let this one get away. With all the money backing the Dodgers, though– not to mention the fact that they have a better shot at playing meaningful baseball this year, and that the Jays already have too many pitchers for too few spots when Morrow and Happ shortly (presumably) return to health– it’s hard to see anyone beating them to the punch. If the Jays do, though… that certainly can’t hurt.

Y’know, unless this untested guy few people had heard of before last month turns out to be… I don’t know… terrible. But what are the odds of that? Never seen a baseball transaction work out poorly around here, no sir! Just go spend a shit-tonne of money on him, Alex– the fans will be forgiving if it blows up in your face!

Here’s a YouTube clip of Gonzalez pitching at Tijuana in late June, which is impressive– if not for his pitching, at least for the fact that it’s a leap forward for scouting videos, what with the awesome music after (mostly) every pitch and all.¬†

Comments (69)

  1. Pros: The hard-throwing right-hander has a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, fork and a curveball.

    Cons: He’s actually 47.

  2. Well since the age one is already taken. First “I can’t wait for the Jays to get him like they got Yu Darvish” joke!

  3. What if cubs get him, man they’ll be loaded with prospects and a chance at a world series by 2015-2016

  4. I don’t know if I’d be able to endure those songs for every pitch if they ever did that at Rogers dear blevins… could be a nice shot in the arm for the team (too many pitchers in one rotation with question marks be damned)

  5. To me Gonzalez makes sense.
    Why?
    Because we’ve never really been linked to him.
    Outside of a few liars no one called any of our 2013 offseason acquisitions.
    This guy can throw, we need him, and we mostly have not been linked.
    Smells like gold.
    Smells like the Ninja of old.

    • There were rumours about the Jays’ interest in Reyes pretty much from the day AA took over. And Johnson stuff for months. And Dickey stuff for quite a bit before that happened. And lots of people saying that Melky made too much sense for them.

      So…

      • Don’t forget Rosenthal mentioned Lawrie-for-Marcum like six months before it happened.

        • And with the last Jays Cuban signing, Hechavarria, it was widely reported in the weeks before the Jays and Yankees were frontrunners.

          • Why you guys got to sober me up with shit like that?
            Can’t a Drunk Jays Fan remain blindly optimistic?

            Plus I should get points for rhyming the last line.

  6. Man, I really don’t get this competitive balance bullshit. Orioles and Indians get extra picks?

    Those are bigger markets, are we getting hamstrung because we have a wealthy owner?

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/rockies-win-competitive-balance-lottery/

    • Well actually they’re definitely not bigger markets. Do you realize that Jays games get wayyy more viewers than any other team in MLB? Now, understandably that is the difference between local and national telecasts, but viewers are viewers. Plus, the Toronto sports market even without the rest of Canada is still 4th in the league (third if you count Southern Ontario).

    • How are those bigger markets than Toronto?

    • Not a great understanding of American geography there, Smasher. Both are much, much smaller markets than Toronto. And that’s when you only look at Toronto as being the market for the Jays, not Canada as a whole.

    • I stand corrected.

      I was thinking about this through fan attendance, If I recall Colorado had 4 million fans go through the turnstiles one year. I was thinking more along those lines but I guess that really isn’t what brings in the bucks.

      I’ll go hit myself with a hammer now.

    • Just to add: the Orioles also basically have had their market split by the Nationals (which they took money to allow to happen), as Baltimore and Washington are so close as to be pretty much one larger market.

  7. Is the radar gun making that music or was that put into the video during production? Asking because I would love to purchase a radar gun that plays sweet latino music after recording speeds.

  8. a night time read under the heading of “Bullshit Rumours”

    Stoeten is killing it lately and I ain’t even afraid to say it #BootySmooches

  9. Ya Happ’s spot in the rotation is untouchable – good one, you’re first good one in a while

  10. Dodgers are in it? Fuck.

    I always wonder if MLB ready Cubans have a bias towards signing with American teams because of the whole Cuban Adjustment Act. According to my (Wikipedia) research you have to be in the country for a year to establish permanent residency and that’s tough to do when you’re living in Canada 6 months a year. It’s one thing for the kids that will spend years in the minors, but maybe it’s different for guys expected to jump right to MLB. It’s probably easier for them to bring family to the US because of its immigration policies towards Cuba.

    I have no idea if this is actually a thing or not, just find it an interesting wrinkle in the whole situation. Maybe there’s a law talking guy or girl out there that knows more?

    • You can actually travel from Canada to Cuba directly via plane, so I would think this gives us an advantage to signing Cuban talent.

      • I think that if they were to step foot on Cuba they would probably be arrested and thrown in jail.

      • Yeah they’re called defectors for a reason. I think Cuba has very recently implemented a process by which defected MLB players can return to Cuba to visit family, but it’s after like 8 years or something. It’s a pretty hardcore commitment these guys make to come try their hand in the MLB.

    • I don’t know much about the process but I have heard from a Cuban that I used to work with that he liked the idea of Canada because he could potentially bring his family over easier – though his goal was to get to Miami as quick as humanly possible once that was accomplished.

      • Yeah I don’t know much either, just kinda spit balling. Maybe hoping someone who does know more would stumble across it and enlighten us all. And hell, your anecdote is more than I really have to go on lol

        Just always wondered if immigration policy is any kind of advantage/disadvantage for signing with a Canadian team instead of an American one. Could be absolutely meaningless too.

  11. Hypothetically if Jays did land this guy, do you think that changes their stance on JJ at the deadline?

    I’m thinking either way that would hang onto JJ for the reasons Stoeten wrote about yesterday, but you never know.

  12. Would make sense. AA regrets not getting Chapman, and Puig and Cespedes have certainly made it seem like the new market inefficiency is Cuban defectors, so even at $60 million, it could fit in AA’s love of value.

    Plus he can (one would think) be plugged into the big league team pretty quick.

    • I’m of the mind Jays have more to spend than the $120 mill people keep throwing around.

      You don’t plan a huge move like the Jays made in a one year vacuum. I bet there is additional resources for the next couple years anyway.

      With the new CBA you don’t get paid for being unprofitable. And despite the bad first half, viewership is up and people are paying attention to the team. On field results haven’t been there, but you have to consider the business side of the increased payroll to atleast be a mild success. Don’t you?

      A strong second half and a couple off season additions could definitely help the on field results which would push the profitability of this team even higher.

      If dropping another $20 mill on payroll keeps people excited and adds pieces to get the Jays over the hump I can’t see how that’s a bad business move.

  13. It makes sense to be in the hunt. Obviously I have no big opinion on this guy, but the Jays could certainly use more good pitching, if that’s what would be, and it seems like it will be difficult for them to acquire that via trade.

    If he’s good and belongs in the rotation, there’s always ways of clearing spots for him. As has been proven over and over again, it seems virtually impossible to have too much pitching depth.

  14. fly ball pitcher in the AL East……ummmmmm

  15. Maybe this has been up for a while and I didn’t notice it, but since when has DJF been sponsored by Coors Light? Hey, I’m not harking on you for trying to make a buck, you gotta eat, but Coors Light? Couldn’t steam whistle give you some cash?

    • It’s been a while. Kinda funny. I think Backhand Shelf was sponsored by Mike’s Hard for a bit too.

  16. $60 million/5 years? If Gonzalez turns out to be a decent #3 for most of that span that contract would look like a bargain.

    Hard to imagine the Dodgers not signing him, though.

  17. That’s Edwin Jackson money, he doesn’t have to be a top 20 pitcher by any stretch of the imagination.

    And hey, you can never have too much pitching, as the Jays have been going out of their way to prove for the last 12 months or so.

  18. If the front office thinks he’s legit I’d love to see them go all out. To me, it makes the Johnson situation much easier. You’ve got a ready replacement is someone blows you away with an offer. If not you hope it lights a fire under his ass and you get some damn good pitching down the stretch.
    Either way AA would be in the driver’s seat, he could qualify Johnson and offer him what he thinks is a fair extension and say take it or leave it.

    • Also, I know they don’t have any Cubans but Toronto has increased their presence in that part of the world. Would there be any spillover from their investment in Latin America and their presence of Latin players?
      Full disclosure: I’m not yet a man of the world, never been further south than Cincinnati.

      • Based on absolutely nothing, my guess would be that having a lot of Latin American players would ease the transition/language barrier, making it a slightly more appealing choice, but that it will all come down to money anyway, so it won’t make a difference.

    • MLBTR also says this about Misael Siverio (the latest Cuban defector):

      “Most Cuban defectors establish residency in countries other than the U.S., to avoid being subject to MLB’s amateur draft”

      Is that a +1 for Canada?

  19. I just put down $20 for the Blue Jays to win the AL pennant @ 20 to 1, and $20 on the WS @ 40 to 1.

    Not the most risk-averse use of $40 (although I made my wager amount back at the virtual roulette wheel and promptly cashed out), but greed aside from the juicy odds, a fan has to channel some karma into this team.

    They just gotta find a way to the 2nd wild card, and despite it not always being on display, this team does have talent.

    Coors Light for everyone at a hipster bar if it works out.

  20. Hipster bars aren’t likely to be serving Coors, but I’ll take the strongest IPA (I Party Alone) they have.

  21. If the Jays do sign him, lets hope he turns out like all of the superstar Cubans that they missed and not the shitty “star” they signed to play SS.

    • The one they got was noted for having a weak bat and all world glove. Which he pretty much ended up being. Still value in that at the shortstop position.

    • Puig set the world on fire for 100 ABs.

      But so did Yan Gomes this year.

      Not seriously comparing the two, but we definitely need a little more time before declaring him a superstar. And before declaring the Dodgers “winners” with his contract.

    • Hechhavaria only cost $10 million, keep in mind.

  22. Not to worry….we’ll put in a “competitive bid” and be “right there at the end”.
    And at the end, like always, going home alone after the dance.

    • Yup. The Jays haven’t done anything in recent memory to show they’re willing to spend money. All just for show.

      • Not what I meant, smartass.
        I meant, historically, Toronto HAS offered more money….but more often than not, it seems that the bright lights of Broadway or Hollywood shine brighter in their agents’ eyes.

  23. Guess we can always hope this is the one time we get lucky and put in the winning bid; and then we can hope this is the one time we get lucky and get an international free agent that turns into a bona fide superstar, instead of a mere regular.

  24. Spanish music is awesome when your drunk, and when is anyone not drunk at a baseball game?

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