Raciel Iglesias rumors are popping up faster than Billy Hamilton going from first to third. The story started on Thursday, May 29, when Cincinnati Reds‘ scouts traveled to Haiti to watch the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cuban defector throw workout pitches. The rumors exploded Sunday night when Mark Wildstein tweeted that the slight, 24-year-old right-hander was close to inking a $15 million deal over the next five or six years.
Ben Badler of Baseball America offered a very brief scouting report: “At the World Baseball Classic in March, Iglesias pitched at 88-92 mph. When Cuba visited the U.S. in July for a five-game friendship series against the U.S. College national team, Iglesias looked more impressive, throwing 92-95 mph while varying the speed and shape of his sweepy 76-81 mph breaking ball to get swings and misses.”
As is the case with most Cuban defectors, the only hope of seeing them play comes during the World Baseball Classic. Last year, MLB scouts got lucky and saw Iglesias pitch in two tournaments—once during the WBC and again in the Badler’s mentioned five-game friendship series.
So where is the bombshell? Where’s the pudding’s proof that Iglesias is even in negotiations with the Reds?
Great dinner last night with my boys , we ate Cuban food and Joey love it , hopefully he can learn how to cook it pic.twitter.com/dQJLriCSYz
— Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) June 13, 2014
From right to left we see Aroldis Chapman, Brayan Pena and Joey Votto. They are all well known team members.
So who is the mystery man on the left of Votto? Take the jersey and cap off, and it looks like Iglesias in a dress shirt.
Then again, it could be the restaurant’s owner mugging for one of those famous people wall photos.