MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies have agreed to a deal with Cuban righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez for six years worth $48 million with an $11 million option for 2019. This is so out of the ordinary for the Phillies as they have never spent more than $1.2 million on an international player before now.
Gonzalez, 26, dazzled scouts with his stuff as he had numerous teams interested in his services. He has a fastball that sits in the 92-93 mph range but can top out at 97 mph. He also features a curveball, change-up, and forkball/splitter. He stands at 6'3", 185 lbs. and is close to MLB-ready. The Phillies are expected to send Gonzalez to the minors before calling him up to the Phillies in mid-to-late August.
The general consensus is that scouts believe that he can be a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Some believe he has a higher ceiling than others. One concern is that Gonzalez has not pitched competitively since 2011 as he had elbow surgery last year. He defected from Cuba earlier this year to a number of places before landing in Tijuana, Mexico.
I like the deal as it gives the Phillies rotational depth and a relatively young starter for the price of the contract - the big key being no prospects dealt. For a team that is looking to "re-tool" this appears to be the perfect move. An average salary of $8 million is not a ton of money in the Majors and, in reality, was essentially the price of Joe Blanton.
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