Making official what was reported as “close” last week, the Reds have signed Cuban right-hander Rasiel Iglesias to a seven-year, $30 million contract.
Iglesias is 24 years old with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and posted a 1.68 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 54 innings in Cuba last season. He has starting experience, but the Reds are expected to make him a full-time reliever and he should move quickly through the farm system on the way to likely joining Cincinnati bullpen as a setup man for countryman Aroldis Chapman.
Iglesias’ contract does not count against the international signing bonus limits because he’s older than 23 and has significant experience in Cuba, so the Reds were able to break the bank. And it’s an MLB contract, so he goes directly onto the 40-man roster.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.