Yasiel Balaguer, a 17-year-old center fielder considered one of the top prospects in Cuba, has defected to Nicaragua in order to become a free agent and sign with an MLB team, according to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald.
Ebro reports that Balaguer is now being represented by the Miami Sports agency and calls him “a natural leadoff batter and an explosive baserunner” who “is an extraordinary defensive player because of his arm.”
Baseball America‘s reports on Balaguer are far less glowing, but he’s definitely viewed as a legitimate prospect.
Jose Iglesias and Noel Arguelles defected from Cuba as teenagers last year, with Iglesias joining the Red Sox for $8.25 million and Arguelles getting $7 million from the Royals.
Bob Nightengale reports that Adrian Gonzalez plans to play in 2019 and the Diamondbacks are “one of the teams who may have interest.”
Well, now that they’ve traded way Paul Goldschmidt I suppose they have an opening.
The Mets released Gonzalez on June 10, after he completed a 54-game tenure with a batting line of .237/.299/.373 and only six homers. No one else showed interest in the five-time All-Star after the Mets cast him off and, as such, one might have felt comfortable saying that his playing days were over. He thinks differently, however, and apparently the Dbacks are at least willing to listen. He will turn 37 in May and will almost certainly have to settle for a minor league contract, but if the man wants to play, that will not be an obstacle.