The Braves are being mentioned as one of several teams that are giving serious thought signing 26-year-old Cuban free agent pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez when he becomes available next week. The other teams considered “in the mix” are the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, ALL of which have higher payrolls than the Braves.
There are pretty sizable numbers being thrown around for a contract for the hurler from Cuba. Most people seem to think that it going to take at least 5 years/$60 million to sign him.
Gonzalez throws a fastball in the mid-90s with a forkball, curveball and change-up. One of the reasons he is such a hot commodity is because he’s expected to be Major League ready right away, so any team that signs him should be able to use him for the stretch drive of the season. I would imagine he would probably need a couple of starts in the minors just to get adjusted, but should be able to contribute this season and into the playoffs.
I don’t really see the Braves as serious players here because they almost always get priced out of such signings by the teams that can afford to spend more. Also, it wouldn’t make much sense to spend a boat-load of money (for the Braves) for something that would be nice to have, but the Braves don’t necessarily need right now. Especially for someone who, while he has been scouted, still remains somewhat of a mystery. I will keep an eye on the situation, but I honestly don’t expect much to come of it. I do like his name though. It makes me hungry.