Approximately a week ago, it was reported that Cuban relief pitcher Raciel Iglesias could be nearing a contract worth upward of $15 million with the Cincinnati Reds. On Friday, the initial report was supported by Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who now reports that Iglesias is “close” to inking a multi-year contract with the Reds.
Cuban relief pitcher Raciel Iglesias is “close” to signing contract with Reds, but the deal is not done yet, source confirms.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 20, 2014
Max Wildstein of FanSided’s Call to the Pen was first to report the interest from Cincinnati’s side, and this could be a potentially high impact move for the Reds. Morosi also reported that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Iglesias in the Major Leagues this season if he were to sign in the near future, and when that MLB readiness is paired with his Cuban heritage, it isn’t a far leap to begin comparing Iglesias to current Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman.
Baseball America (and more specifically, Ben Badler) had this to say about Iglesias as a pitcher:
Major league scouts (and Baseball America) have been able to see Iglesias pitch in person outside of Cuba twice this year. 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.
Because the Reds have Chapman in place, there is a bit of a ceiling on just how large of an impact that any incoming reliever can have, but if Iglesias were to quickly sign and subsequently live up to the hype, it would be a nice boost for Cincinnati in middle relief.