Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could sign next week

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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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.