Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez pitches against Mexico in 2011. (Henry Romero / Associated…)
While Yasiel Puig tries to settle into the major leagues, the Dodgers are said to be looking to add another high-priced Cuban prospect.
The Dodgers are among the clubs interested in 26-year-old right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity.
A former Cuban national team pitcher, Gonzalez fled Cuba and reached El Salvador earlier this year. He has since taken up residency in Mexico and is working out in Tijuana.
Gonzalez could be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball as early as this week. Once Gonzalez becomes a free agent and is cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department to sign with American teams, he will hold a showcase for major league scouts. The showcase is expected to take place around June 20, according to a person familiar with Gonzalez’s plans.
Gonzalez missed most of the last two seasons of Cuba’s top baseball league, as he was suspended for attempting to flee the Communist island. He had bone spurs removed from his elbow during his suspension, but is said to be fully recovered.
At least one major league scout believes Gonzalez can pitch in the major leagues this year. He is said to be 6-foot-3 with a fastball in the 90s, a changeup, forkball and curveball.
Whereas Puig rarely played outside of Cuba before signing with the Dodgers, Gonzalez has pitched in several high-profile international tournaments, meaning teams have fairly detailed scouting reports on him. Gonzalez pitched in the World Cup of Baseball in 2009 and 2011.
Because Gonzalez is 23 years or older and played in Cuba’s top league for three or more seasons, whatever a team spends to sign him won’t count against its limit for international signings.