Two days after the Minnesota Twins selected prep pitcher Kohl Stewart with the number four overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, it seems as if they could be in the mix for adding another potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher to their future rotation. According to ESPN 1500 out of Minneapolis, The Twins are one of the teams interested in 6’3 Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gonzalez is living in Mexico after defecting from the Cuban national team. It is rumored that Gonzalez could be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball as early as this coming week which would allow Gonzalez to sign with any American team pending being clear by the U.S. Treasury Department. If he were to be cleared, it is likely that he will hold a showcase for major league scouts to demonstrate his talents which is expected to take place around June 20 if everything goes according to plan.
Scouts believe that Gonzalez is potentially good enough to be pitching in the majors sometime next season. He is said to feature a fastball in the 90s, a changeup, forkball and curveball, but how major league ready those pitches are remains to be seen. The thing that makes Gonzalez especially intriguing to many organizations—including the Twins—is that if signed, he will not count towards a team’s international signing cap because Gonzalez is 23 years or older and played in Cuba’s top league for three or more seasons. The Twins have the fourth-most money in MLB to spend under their international signing cap, so allowing Gonzalez to hit the open market may not bode well for the Twins who would likely have to outbid many major market organizations for Gonzalez’s services. The Twins are expected to have a scout at Gonzalez’s projected showcase on June 20.
The Twins have had some success luring big-time international players to their organization, with Miguel Sano being the most noteworthy, and it would be great to see the Twins continue to add talent and pitching depth by signing Gonzalez; however I would temper your expectations because as we all know, money does talk and Gonzalez should be in line for a hefty payday. The one thing the Twins could offer would be a chance for Gonzalez to compete in the majors sooner than other teams, due to their current pitching situation, but that promise is likely going to be ineffective because there are going to be many teams extending that same offer to Gonzalez with the hopes of him signing with them.
Keep an eye on the Gonzalez situation over the coming weeks as the Twins will likely be very interested in acquiring his services. Hopefully, for the Twins sake, a stroke of luck occurs and the Twins can steal one of the better pitching prospects to come out of Cuba over the last few years. If that would occur, the team’s pitching depth and future rotation is beginning to look very, very promising.