16-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros is getting a lot of attention these days, but a countryman twice his age is also busy making his case for a contract with an MLB team.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that 13 teams attended the showcase for Cuban outfielder Alexei Bell today in Mexicali, Mexico. He was able to identify all of the clubs in attendance:
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has more details on the three-hour showcase, as Bell slugged 15 home runs during batting practice and against live pitching. He also made throws from right field and did some running. He could begin private workouts for teams in Florida and Arizona soon, but he’ll need to be approved for a visitor visa first.
Listed at 5-foot-7 and 187 pounds on Baseball Reference, the 32-year-old Bell batted .319/.417/.547 over 14 seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He spent last season with Capitales of Quebec in the Canadian-American Association while batting .317/.363/.424 over 59 games. It was reported last month that Bell left Cuba legally to seek an opportunity in MLB. While he might not be the player he was a few years ago, he’s still drawing plenty of interest.
As opposed to Armenteros, Bell is not subject to MLB’s international bonus pool limits.
Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.
Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.