Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez signs with Phillies

Sources: Cuban defector Gonzalez signs with Phillies for $60 million

7/27/13 in MLB   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez signs with PhilliesEvery year or so, a defector from Cuba commands a lot of attention in the free agent market. The market became even more rabid after the new CBA went into effect, which capped what could be paid out to international free agents. However, there are two big exceptions to that rule, and Cuban defectors are one of them. The last few years have seen Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig get paid big money, something that the Reds and Dodgers certainly don't regret. This year, the big name that defected was right handed pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. According to sources at Yahoo, Gonzalez made his decision last night, signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. Showing how the market works these days, Gonzalez has signed the biggest international free agent contract ever, a 6 year deal worth almost $60 million.

Gonzalez is 26 and defected in February to Mexico. There, he's shown a fastball that usually sits around 93, as well as a split-fingered fastball, cut fastball, change up, and curve. He clearly impressed Phillies' scouts enough to back up the dump truck for him.

The fact that the Phillies signed Gonzalez is fascinating. The team has lost six in a row, are 5 games below .500, and are 9 games back of Atlanta for the division lead. They look like an aging, past its prime team without a lot of young talent on the big club or in the minors. In other words, no man's land. Ruben Amaro and the rest of the Phillies' brass, however, doesn't seem to feel that way. They've continued to indicate that they are not selling, and now they've added yet another big contract to a complete unknown. It's not a long-term plan either. The Phillies intend to call up Gonzalez to the majors after just a few minor league starts. For whatever reason, the Phillies won't give up on this season even as it looks more and more unlikely.

In a vacuum, it's probably a worthy gamble. A six year, $60 million deal for a 26 year old pitcher is probably below market value, even if he turns out only average. However, does it makes sense for Philadelphia given their current situation? It sure doesn't seem so.
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