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.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.