Cubs Reach Agreement With Juan Yasser Serrano

5:57pm: Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald has some updated information on the signing (in Spanish), thanks to an interview with Serrano's agent, Jaime Torres.

Torres confirms that the deal is for $250K, and Ebro writes that Serrano is actually 22 years old. Contrary to previous reports, Ebro writes that Serrano has passed a "rigorous physical examination." He will report to extended spring training in Arizona before heading to the Cubs' single-A affiliate in Dayton.

12:43pm: The Cubs reached an agreement with Serrano, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.  She notes that the deal is not expected to be finalized for another month, because paperwork must be completed and Serrano must pass his physical.

8:54am: The Cuban baseball news blog cubanballplayers.com reports that right-handed pitching prospect Juan Yasser Serrano "may have signed" a $250K contract with the Cubs.  MLBTR has learned that while Serrano has not signed, the Cubs are in discussions with his representatives. 

Serrano defected from Cuba in April of 2009, but as a reminder of what that term signifies, he was also arrested for attempted illegal departure in January. Upon finally arriving in Miami, he took up with popular Cuban agent Jaime Torres in time to see his name pop up in a few stretch run signing rumors. This winter, Serrano has been connected to at least 10 teams.

When reporting Serrano's defection in April, Jorge Ebro at the Miami-based Nuevo Herald mentioned that the pitcher had been 16 when he appeared in his first Cuban Serie Nacional, in 2006 for the Villa Clara Orangemen. That would make him either 20 or 21 now.


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63 Comments on "Cubs Reach Agreement With Juan Yasser Serrano"


crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Yawn…he’s another one of Jamie Torres overhyped Cuban prospects (see Dayan Viciedo). He’s been pretty mediocre in Cuba. At least the Cubs are only giving out 250k for him.

cman
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah, I heard the same. Why isn’t the U.S. deporting these people. Cubans are illegal immigrants.

jb226
5 years 4 months ago

Because it is illegal in the United States to deport people to Cuba except under extremely limited circumstances.

Once their feet touch American soil, they’re here to stay as long as they want.

cman
5 years 4 months ago

Yeah, I heard the same. Why isn’t the U.S. deporting these people. Cubans are illegal immigrants.

5 years 4 months ago

It’s probably a bit early to give up Viciedo, though. Yes, the talk that maybe he’d rocket to the majors was unwarranted. But he held down an everyday job in AA as a 20 year-old playing his first season in professional ball. If he repeats AA and improves some this year, he could still do AAA in ’11 and be ready for the bigs as a 23 year-old.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

I’m not giving up on Viciedo yet but in retrospect, he was overhyped and much more a raw hitter than the Sox were led to believe. Right now, he lacks plate discipline and can’t hit a breaking ball. Exacerbating the situation is that he has poor conditioning (although he did work on it last year) and doesn’t have the defensive ability to stay at third. We’re looking at a guy who’s a first basemen at best, which only ups the ante on the production he needs to provide to be an asset. He’s a very good fastball hitter, which allowed him to put up decent numbers in AA, but he’s going to have to get better overall if he’s going to succeed in the bigs. I’m not saying he can’t or won’t improve, but at this point, he’s not as good as advertised.

disgustedcubfan
5 years 4 months ago

You’re comments are going to anger White Sox fans out there. They were led to believe ( and many still do) that Viciedo is Ryan Braun/Ryan Howard wrapped into one, only younger.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

LOL! You’re probably right.

The crazy thing is, I’m actually one of the rare Cub fans who follows and roots for the Sox. (My wife is a diehard Sox fan, so we wind up splitting up the games we attend, so they sort of grew on me over the years). I’m not a guy who bashes the White Sox. I try to be honest in my opinions. Ask me about Gordon Beckham or Tyler Flowers and I’ll be so positive that you’d swear I was born and bred on the south side. Ask me about Daniel Hudson or Dayan Viciedo and, until I see a little more, you’ll find me a lot more skeptical — and more likely to anger a few Sox fans out there! Though, I would like to think that some Sox fans would agree with me about Viciedo.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 4 months ago

The problem with Viciedo is more of a romanticism around Cuban prospects. Everyone keeps expecting their big stars to come to the majors and be big stars. Remember a couple of years ago when Contreras defected? Everyone was certain he’d blow away everyone in the majors and besides a couple of good seasons he’s been overall an average pitcher.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

I totally agee. There’s a certain mystique about Cuban players. Part of it is history but part of it is also the hype machine otherwise known as Jaime Torres. He is the closest thing to the Cuban version of Scott Boras. The U.S. doesn’t even get the best of Cuba; they just get the guys who manage to defect– but Torres will take the most mediocre prospect, sprinkle in some hyperbole and Cuban mystique and suddenly you’ve got yourself a multi-million dollar bonus baby. If this story about Serrano turns out to be true, I’d be pleased (and surprised) that the Cubs didn’t totally take the bait and instead signed him for a somewhat reasonable 250k.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 4 months ago

Ah history plus rampant capitalism, love it. But yeah, the hype and history make a bit of a perfect storm. I’m really more interested to see Chapman in 5 years to see what he’s become… as much as everyone says ace, history seems to suggest less than that. Heck for the Red Sox I’m just hoping Jose Iglesias tuns out to have that fabulous glove and can at least bat 9th in the order.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

I’d like to see how those guys turn out as well. Chapman and Iglesias are two of the higher upside guys I’m keeping an eye on. I’d add Noel Arguelles to that watch list too.

Ricky Bones
5 years 4 months ago

Castro has a big hand in this as well. He doesn’t allow the best & brightest players to leave the island or even be seen playing baseball by most eyes. A lot of great players are even forbidden from playing baseball at all b/c El Presidente so desperately does not want them in America. El Duque was a janitor in a mental institution before he managed to escape.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Unfortunately the ballplayers don’t have the opportunity there that they do in other countries (like the Dominican Republic, for example). You have to wonder how many stars we may have missed out on over the years. It really is too bad.

Ricky Bones
5 years 4 months ago

Castro has a big hand in this as well. He doesn’t allow the best & brightest players to leave the island or even be seen playing baseball by most eyes. A lot of great players are even forbidden from playing baseball at all b/c El Presidente so desperately does not want them in America. El Duque was a janitor in a mental institution before he managed to escape.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

I’d like to see how those guys turn out as well. Chapman and Iglesias are two of the higher upside guys I’m keeping an eye on. I’d add Noel Arguelles to that watch list too.

johnsilver
5 years 4 months ago

I think everybody is looking for that next Luis Tiant perhaps to emerge from Cuba and it has just never happened yet. Also, have you noticed the amount of ball players from Cuba who state that he is the type of player that they wish to become?

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

True, but I think it’s only natural for Cubans to aspire to be as good as a countryman who’s as revered as Tiant is. Agents like Jamie Torres are adept at fueling that kind of hype. We get the same thing here in the U.S. Every big Texas bred fireballer is compared to Roger Clemens or, more recently, Josh Beckett. Every control-oriented pitcher seems to get compared to Maddux. The comparisons are rarely warranted and the players almost never live up to that kind of hype — whether it’s created by Jaime Torres or Scott Boras. It’s just salesmanship. Everybody wants to sell their product and get the most money they can. Teams and fans should be wary when we hear those kind of comparisons. When it comes from Cuba, we have to be really skeptical because we are choosing from a much smaller player pool and aren’t necessarily getting to see their best players to begin with. All things considered, I think the Cubs made an appropriate investment with Serrano. We all assumed they would go way overboard based on their history, but it wasn’t the case this time.

johnsilver
5 years 4 months ago

It will be kind of interesting to see this kid play, provided the Cubs will still have a FSL this coming year in Daytona Beach? That way they will make several trips to Lakeland and be able to see him, if indeed they do assign him there for this upcoming season.

Other than Tiant and Morales currently in Anahein and Camillo Pascual going way back that can recall having good success at the MLB level.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Hopefully Hak Ju Lee gets assigned to Daytona. That guy seems like he would be fun to watch. You had some good prospects pass through their last year too.

As for Cubans having MLB success, it would depend on how you define Cuban. Palmeiro and Canseco were Cuban but obviously grew up here in the U.S.

You did forget Yunel Escobar who’s a pretty nice player in Atlanta playing today. Alexei Ramirez of the Sox is a good player too. Livan Hernandez had some good years. From the past there’s also Tony Oliva, Tony Perez, Mike Cuellar, Minnie Minoso, Bert Campaneris…and one of my personal favorites growing up, Jose Cardenal. We didn’t get to see Omar Linares, who scouts say could have been the best 3rd baseman in the world in his prime. I imagine if the Cubans ever decided to start freely sending players that they’d be at least as successful as Dominican players…perhaps more so.

johnsilver
5 years 4 months ago

Ah yes, you go back and drag out some more names had forgotten Crunchy! Cuellar especially of the Orioles and the 4 20 game winner circle on that ’71 Orioles staff. Good ball players all and how I just remembered Pascuall from amongst that batch..

disgustedcubfan
5 years 4 months ago

I also like lots of things about the Sox. U.S. Cellular is a great place to take in a game. Ozzie and Kenny always have an opinion and are entertaining. Hawk and Stone doing the games on T.V. are great together.
It is the hyper-sensitive/ defensive White Sox fans that I don’t understand. Most Sox fans I know have an burning hatred for the Cubs, that to me seems like a waste of their time and energy.
I think worrying about Minnesota would be more important to them than what the Cubs are doing or how many people go to Wrigley.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

It is strange. You’d have to wonder if some Sox fans could choose between another W.S. title or a guarantee that the Cubs will never win one in their lifetime. My bet is that a few would choose the latter.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

Shud / you Cubs troll! You dont no what you talking about! Viciedo rocks and your team sucks at making prospects! You just jealous!! Sox WIN!!!!!!!!!

馃槈

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

LOL…thanks for the good laugh. ( I hope the moderator doesn’t misinterpret your comment and zap it off into cyberspace again.)

P.S. You forgot to remind me how the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 101 years!

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“P.S. You forgot to remind me how the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 101 years!”

Damn! How could I forget what is probably the most important part of it?

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“P.S. You forgot to remind me how the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 101 years!”

Damn! How could I forget what is probably the most important part of it?

jwsox
5 years 4 months ago

sox fans like you make the rest of us look bad…

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

I’m actually a supporter/fan of both clubs. Was just running with Inpatients comment and jokingly imitating the comments regularly seen by those who unfortunately make the rest of Sox fans look bad.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

I’m actually a supporter/fan of both clubs. Was just running with Inpatients comment and jokingly imitating the comments regularly seen by those who unfortunately make the rest of Sox fans look bad.

valpohistory
5 years 4 months ago

He’s not a sox fan

valpohistory
5 years 4 months ago

He’s not a sox fan

jwsox
5 years 4 months ago

sox fans like you make the rest of us look bad…

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

I think the best thing we can take out of this is that the Cubs are making an effort to expand their international scouting into Cuba. They missed out on Iglesias and were among the teams scouting Chapman and Arguelles, so it’s obvious they want to be a player in Cuba. If nothing else, Serrano gets their foot in the door and may make it easier to get better prospects in the future.

studio179
5 years 4 months ago

“If nothing else, Serrano gets their foot in the door and may make it easier to get better prospects in the future.”

That’s how I look at this signing as well.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Now we just have to hope that we don’t overpay those better prospects!

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

No, now we just have to hope Hendry is fired, thereby giving us a much better chance of not overpaying those better prospects!

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

No, now we just have to hope Hendry is fired, thereby giving us a much better chance of not overpaying those better prospects!

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Now we just have to hope that we don’t overpay those better prospects!

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“on February 19, he reportedly threw a two-inning simulation for the Cubs, striking out four and allowing one run on an infield hit.”

I suspect he probably walked the bases loaded prior to that single if Hendry is really interested in the guy.

Kind of hard to give up a run on an infield single if they arent full, and Hendry loves them guys with absolutely no control but “stuff” that might generate high K’s if facing eager hitters

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe it was a HBP, a balk, and a wild pitch and then an infield single! Seriously, I’m not sure he has great stuff anyway. That same post said he topped out at 93 mph and didn’t mention breaking stuff — so either they don’t have the information or it just wasn’t worth mentioning. You have to figure he pitches at 89-92 most of the time, which would be pretty average. Also, you can’t really get detailed numbers on Cuban players so it’s hard to get a good read. I know he was 14-16 lifetime with a 4.40 ERA on a very good team in Cuba. I couldn’t find anything more than that. If the Cubs sign him, we’ll probably hear the spin from Hendry about projectability and promise. Still, at 250K, the Cubs got him at roughly the price of a 4th round pick. At least it won’t be a colossal financial blunder if he we never hear from Serrano again.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

Here is a bit of information on him (if you can read it – I cant, but will still translate some of it for us…)

“Las mismas fuentes aseguran que el joven lanzador ha mostrado en sus presentaciones buen dominio de la zona de “strike”, acertado comando de una bola r谩pida coqueteando las 90-93 millas por hora y de su “slider, evidenciando dotes de ponchador.”

I read that as if it is mocking his fastball and mentioning he has a slider. Oh, and I think it also says he doesnt wear any undies.

“Sus manejadores le han programado dos presentaciones abiertas a la que han asistido representantes de no menos de diez equipos de ligas mayores.
La m谩s reciente de sus presentaciones, sin embargo, fue el pasado viernes 19 para los Chicago Cubs.Yasser lanz贸 dos entradas, ponch贸 a cuatro y admiti贸 una carrera, impulsada por un infield hit.
Se espera que est茅 de vuelta en el mont铆culo ante los evaluadores de talento el venidero miercoles 24 de febrero.”

I have no clue what most of that says other then I think the last line lets us know that although he is Cuban-20/21, his real age is probably closer to 24.

:)

That said, youre right, its 250K so it isnt a big deal at all. Just hope we dont hear massive hype on the guy before he shows anything and ideally they didnt guarantee him a 40man roster spot.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

Here is a bit of information on him (if you can read it – I cant, but will still translate some of it for us…)

“Las mismas fuentes aseguran que el joven lanzador ha mostrado en sus presentaciones buen dominio de la zona de “strike”, acertado comando de una bola r谩pida coqueteando las 90-93 millas por hora y de su “slider, evidenciando dotes de ponchador.”

I read that as if it is mocking his fastball and mentioning he has a slider. Oh, and I think it also says he doesnt wear any undies.

“Sus manejadores le han programado dos presentaciones abiertas a la que han asistido representantes de no menos de diez equipos de ligas mayores.
La m谩s reciente de sus presentaciones, sin embargo, fue el pasado viernes 19 para los Chicago Cubs.Yasser lanz贸 dos entradas, ponch贸 a cuatro y admiti贸 una carrera, impulsada por un infield hit.
Se espera que est茅 de vuelta en el mont铆culo ante los evaluadores de talento el venidero miercoles 24 de febrero.”

I have no clue what most of that says other then I think the last line lets us know that although he is Cuban-20/21, his real age is probably closer to 24.

:)

That said, youre right, its 250K so it isnt a big deal at all. Just hope we dont hear massive hype on the guy before he shows anything and ideally they didnt guarantee him a 40man roster spot.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe it was a HBP, a balk, and a wild pitch and then an infield single! Seriously, I’m not sure he has great stuff anyway. That same post said he topped out at 93 mph and didn’t mention breaking stuff — so either they don’t have the information or it just wasn’t worth mentioning. You have to figure he pitches at 89-92 most of the time, which would be pretty average. Also, you can’t really get detailed numbers on Cuban players so it’s hard to get a good read. I know he was 14-16 lifetime with a 4.40 ERA on a very good team in Cuba. I couldn’t find anything more than that. If the Cubs sign him, we’ll probably hear the spin from Hendry about projectability and promise. Still, at 250K, the Cubs got him at roughly the price of a 4th round pick. At least it won’t be a colossal financial blunder if he we never hear from Serrano again.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

LOL…It also said that he won’t wear a jockstrap on account of being Catholic and all.

Actually, I do speak Spanish and Portuguese. The scouting report roughly says, “The young hurler demonstrated good command of the strike zone and good command of a 90-93 mph fastball and slider, demonstrating the skills of a strikeout pitcher.”

The rest is stuff already translated for MLTBR by Nick Collias (stuff like pitching in front of the Cubs, the results of that outing, that he has pitched in front of ten teams, etc. The numbers are the February dates on which he threw, by the way, not ages.)

But, yeah, based on those reports, 250K is not a bad investment at all.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

LOL…It also said that he won’t wear a jockstrap on account of being Catholic and all.

Actually, I do speak Spanish and Portuguese. The scouting report roughly says, “The young hurler demonstrated good command of the strike zone and good command of a 90-93 mph fastball and slider, demonstrating the skills of a strikeout pitcher.”

The rest is stuff already translated for MLTBR by Nick Collias (stuff like pitching in front of the Cubs, the results of that outing, that he has pitched in front of ten teams, etc. The numbers are the February dates on which he threw, by the way, not ages.)

But, yeah, based on those reports, 250K is not a bad investment at all.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“It also said that he won’t wear a jockstrap on account of being Catholic and all.”

You mean I was right on that part??? Lol, wow…

“The numbers are the February dates on which he threw, by the way, not ages”

Yeah, I know that much – but my translation was better 馃槈

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“It also said that he won’t wear a jockstrap on account of being Catholic and all.”

You mean I was right on that part??? Lol, wow…

“The numbers are the February dates on which he threw, by the way, not ages”

Yeah, I know that much – but my translation was better 馃槈

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Ah, yes…I guess I missed the :) after the age comment!

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Ah, yes…I guess I missed the :) after the age comment!

Triteon
5 years 4 months ago

First thought I had on this signing: Yo, bartender, Jobu needs a refill.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

You sayin Jesus Christ can’t hit a curve ball?

ubercubsfan
5 years 4 months ago

Is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum; is very bad.

ubercubsfan
5 years 4 months ago

Is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum; is very bad.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe thats why he doesnt need undies – no marbles

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe thats why he doesnt need undies – no marbles

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

You sayin Jesus Christ can’t hit a curve ball?

Triteon
5 years 4 months ago

First thought I had on this signing: Yo, bartender, Jobu needs a refill.

MickeyScales
5 years 4 months ago

Overall one of the funniest comment sections Ive read on this site. Anytime I see or hear the word undies I get a good giggle out of it. I know my comment has nothing to do with anything but whatever. “Dynamite drop in Monty”

MickeyScales
5 years 4 months ago

Overall one of the funniest comment sections Ive read on this site. Anytime I see or hear the word undies I get a good giggle out of it. I know my comment has nothing to do with anything but whatever. “Dynamite drop in Monty”

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

For Cub fans who may be interested, I’m not going to translate the entire article but I’ll sum up the scouting report on Serrano, since most of us are most interested in what kind of pitcher he is:

* He doesn’t have the explosive stuff of a Roger Clemens, but rather the patience and intelligence of a Greg Maddux, relatively speaking.
*The Cubs intend to develop Serrano as a starter
*The plan is to start the year in extended spring training, then pitch at Class A Daytona this year
*His command of the strike zone is good.
*His fastball is anywhere from 87-92 mph, he posesses a slider, a curve, a changeup — and knows how to mix them up well.

In other words, we’re looking at a guy with average stuff and good command and an idea of how to pitch. Sounds like a back of the rotation type guy…pretty much what you’d expect from a guy who signed for 250k.

firealyellon
5 years 4 months ago

EL FAIL

Jntg4
5 years 4 months ago

The Cubs single-A afiliate is not Dayton, they have Hig-A DaytonA though.