Yesterday afternoon it became official: The Cincinnati Reds have signed Cuban right-handed pitcher Rasiel Iglesias to a 7-year big league deal for just under $27M. The exact amount of the deal depends on when exactly Iglesias is able to get his work visa and begin playing according to Cincinnati Enquierer beat reporter C. Trent Rosecrans. The deal begins this year and runs through the 2020 season.
Since he hasn’t pitched in a while since defecting, other than in workouts for Major League Baseball teams, Iglesias is expected to begin his career in the minor leagues. Prior to signing, the majority belief among teams was that he was a reliever at the big league level. He has had some experience starting, but has spent most of his career in the bullpen. The Reds announced that they see him as a starting pitcher.
The Reds have made it something of their own recently, taking guys who have spent time in the bullpen and trying to place them in the rotation. Young, big arms with less milage on them seems to be their M.O. with the drafting of Nick Travieso in the first round of 2012 (only started his senior year of high school), college outfielder/closer Michael Lorenzen in the supplemental first round last year and now Iglesias.
Here is a quick scouting report on Rasiel Iglesias:
Fastball: Works in the 92-95 MPH range with potential to add more velocity.
Breaking ball: Works in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s and is an average to above-average offering.
Change up: He has one, but hasn’t used it much.
Other: His mechanics may need a little bit of work in terms of repeating them to remain as a starting pitcher from what I’ve seen in the very limited video of him that is available.