The Cincinnati Reds are hoping they have found the next great Cuban star in Raisel Iglesias and have signed him to a seven-year deal.
Cincinnati announced the latest contract on its Twitter account:
Reds sign Cuban starting RHP Raisel Iglesias to 7-year contract through 2020. Iglesias, 24, will join org once visa issues are resolved.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 27, 2014
Iglesias worked out for major league teams last month in Haiti. The Reds were one of the teams in attendance and came away impressed with what they saw. Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted that he is someone who can help immediately:
Many teams will have reps in Haiti tmrw for Cuban RH defector Raciel Iglesias’ showcase. Seen as rlvr who could help in pennant race this yr— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 29, 2014
Meanwhile, the pitcher also showcased his ability at the 2013 World Baseball Classic for the Cuban national team. After he faced the United States college national team, head coach Jim Schlossnagle explained, via Ben Badler of Baseball America:
I think he’s a guy that, as he gets bigger and stronger, could be in the mid-to-upper 90s. He’s lean, has a ridiculously loose arm and pounded the strike zone. I was glad they didn’t pitch him more. He was the guy where you’re like, ‘Let’s find a way to get a lead before they get to this guy.’
Although he is relatively small for a pitcher at 5'11", he has plenty of upside as someone who can stick in the bullpen and be a late-game reliever. If he can develop the rest of his arsenal, he can even move into the rotation as a starter in the future.
With fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman playing alongside of him in the bullpen, Iglesias should have an increased comfort level as he gets acclimated to the United States and the major leagues.
As far as the Reds are concerned, the organization is hoping he can help sooner rather than later. The squad is barely hanging on to third place in the NL Central with the bullpen ranking 24th in the league with a 4.16 ERA.
If Iglesias can join the roster and contribute early on, it would be a huge boost to the team's playoff chances.
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