Cincinnati Reds sign Cuban reliever Raisel Iglesias

Raisel Iglesias - Kazuhiro Nogi, via Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, the Cincinnati Reds signed Cuban right-handed pitcher Raisel Iglesias to a seven-year contract worth a reported $30,000,000. At age 24, he does not count against Cincinnati's bonus pool for international prospects.

Iglesias has a listed birthday of January 4, 1990. Some older sources list him at 6-2, 165 pounds, but that's exaggerated and he's actually about 5-11, though the 165 poundage is likely correct. He's not a big guy, in other words, but he's athletic and loose as you can see from the video below.


There are mixed reports on his stuff. He threw 88-92 in international competition in the spring of 2013, but Ben Badler at Baseball America reports 92-95 MPH readings popping up more recently. He has a good slider but will need to make his changeup more consistent if the Reds, as rumored, want to use him as a starter. He pitched three Serie Nacional campaigns in Cuba with good results, although his control was inconsistent in his first two seasons and he didn't fully put things together until 2013.

Badler's report is a must-read (as his reports usually are). Also check out the MLB.com report, as well as Bryan Harris' commentary at Red Reporter.  C. Trent Rosecrans at Cincinnati.com quotes Walt Jocketty to the effect that the Reds have seen Iglesias as high as 96 MPH.

How soon does he arrive in Cincinnati? That's unclear at this point. Is he in pitching condition or will he need some time to work up physically? How long will it take to resolve any visa issues? Will they use him the bullpen? That would likely accelerate his arrival. Do they want him as a starter? In that case he'd likely need innings in the lower minors to build his stamina and work out the changeup.

I could see Iglesias beginning anywhere from Low-A to the big leagues depending on those unanswered questions. He could also wind up in the Arizona Fall League according to Rosecrans.

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