Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was declared a free agent by MLB earlier this week after he received clearance by the United States government. And the bidding could wrap up fairly quickly.
Gonzalez’s agent, Jaime Torres, told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he expects his client to have an agreement with an MLB team by next week.
“I do not think it will happen this weekend,” Torres told ESPNdeportes.com. “But, fortunately, I hope to have an agreement for next week. While the more interested clubs are making their last internal consultations, we are working on the visa process that [Gonzalez] will need to come to the United States.”
Gonzalez defected from Cuba earlier this year and recently worked out for more than 60 scouts in Mexico while he was waiting to receive clearance. Rojas was told by a source close to Gonzalez that the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins are among the teams with interest. The 26-year-old will not be subject to the international spending cap, so look for him to land a big-money contract.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com wrote last month that Gonzalez stands at 6-foot-3 and throws “a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, fork and a curveball.” Torres believes he could help at the major league level during the second half.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.