The Chicago Cubs have signed Cuban relief pitcher Armando Rivero to a contract that includes a $3.1 million bonus.
The bonus will not count against Chicago’s international bonus pool for the upcoming year because Rivero is 25 years old and has suited up for Industriales, a team that participates in the Cuban National Series, for four seasons. Industriales is historically a very successful baseball that is loaded with talented players.
Rivero posted a 3.06 earned run average with 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 47 innings during the 2010-11 season. The right-hander did not play for the Cuban team last year as he spent time training with other Praver Shapiro Sport Management clients in the Dominican Republic. The purpose for this was to get prepared for a stint in Major League Baseball.
Rivero could be a legitimate asset out of the bullpen for the Cubs when he gets a chance to prove himself in the big leagues. However, Chicago will most likely start his career out in Double-A or some lower level. This is so Rivero can get accustomed to the quality of play within the different Major League organizations. Also, considering Rivero does not have a solid secondary pitch, he relies solely on his mid-90s fastball. This will simply not cut it in the big leagues in which every reliever must have at least two reliable pitches in his repertoire to be successful.
The fact that Rivero has talent and experience proves that he could be ready for the big leagues sooner than later. This is assuming that he can quickly develop his already decent splitter, along with a slider or curveball.