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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.