Maya Unblocked, Yankees Interested

May 20: The Phillies will also have a scout in attendance when Maya throws tomorrow, writes the Philadelphia Daily News' David Murphy, though he adds the team doesn't currently consider Maya a serious option for either the bullpen or rotation.

May 19:The latest model from Cuba is now officially on the showroom floor. Nine months after defecting, pitcher Yunesky Maya* has been cleared to sign as a free agent, reports Jorge Ebro at El Nuevo Herald (link in Spanish). Maya's agent, Bart Hernandez, tells Ebro that interest has been "tremendous" thus far in the 28-year-old longtime anchor of the Cuban National Team rotation. Count the Yankees at minimum among the interested, as the New York Post's Brian Costello and George A. King III reported this morning that senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman will be on hand to watch Maya at a workout this Friday in the Dominican Republic.

The obvious starting point for scouting Maya is through comparison with another former Cuban National Series standout who stepped from the 2009 World Baseball Classic to defection and the Major League auction block: Aroldis Chapman. Maya is at least six years older and right-handed, but on the other hand, boasts far more competitive experience and, by all accounts, a fuller arsenal of secondary pitches. Maya told Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez last September he alternates between a 94-mile-an-hour heater, slider, change-up, curve, and sinker, a repertoire which scouts backed up after seeing Maya in action at a workout late last year.

In the 48th National Series that ended last year, Maya ended second to Chapman in strikeouts, 119 to 130, but outdistanced the younger pitcher in the league's equivalent of the Cy Young, thanks to Maya's superior overall stats: 13-4, seven complete games, and a 2.22 ERA in 145 IP. In six Cuban campaigns, Maya managed a 48-29 record with a 2.51 ERA and was also lights-out in both of his brief appearances at the WBC.

Among potential suitors Ebro mentions the Mets and White Sox, two teams that showed early interest in Chapman but didn't stick around to the final stages of the sweepstakes. The Red Sox have been known to be interested as well, though Rob Bradford at WEEI quoted a source in February indicating that Maya was more likely to choose a team where he had a better shot of immediately cracking the rotation. While it's true that Maya worked largely as a starter in Cuba, he told Gomez in September that he is open to relief work and willing to do "whatever the team that signs me needs." What is seemingly more important to the player and his agent, judging by their respective quotes to the Spanish-language press, is that teams approach Maya as a polished talent who is big-league ready right now.

* Maya has been dubbed Yuniesky, Yunieski, Yuneski, and Yunesky with almost equal frequency in published reports both stateside and in Cuba. Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez gave some clarity to MLB Trade Rumors in an e-mail this morning, saying that Yunesky Maya Mendiluza is the name on the player's official documents.


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14 Comments on "Maya Unblocked, Yankees Interested"


aap212
5 years 2 months ago

But will he be more like El Duque or El Duquecito? There’s the question.

5 years 2 months ago

is there a cuban pitcher the Yankees arent interested in?

bj82
5 years 2 months ago

They never went hard for Chapman

lefty58
5 years 2 months ago

Look for the Angels to be in the picture.

It’s always the Yankees, Red Sox 1 & 2, but LAA may have more incentive this year than both of them.

mc7283
5 years 2 months ago

He has been training with the Mets Extended Spring Training team too.. it makes sense…. Angels make sense too, but don’t need him as badly as the Mets do.

East Coast Bias
5 years 2 months ago

I smell a war. A bidding war.

bj82
5 years 2 months ago

Chapman before he signed.

dickylarue
5 years 2 months ago

The Yankees haven’t flexed their financial muscle on an international free agent in awhile. They were barely in on Chapman and let the Blue Jays take that Hechevarria guy since he was scared Jeter would block his path to the majors.

That said, if the Yankees think this guy will help immediately and next season, they won’t be outbid.

They’d rather spend money than give up players to get an arm to help them in the pen this year and the rotation down the road.

If he’s not major league ready, at 28, the Yankees will pass.

The Mets are a non-factor here. Their projected attendance is down 1 million as of right now for the season. Knowing they are taking that kind of financial hit this season will close the checkbook for awhile. That team is more likely to be torn down than to be added to.

As for the Angels and their Kendry Cuban connection, it certainly hasn’t paid off for them at all with all the big Cuban players signed of late.

The Angels are another team that talks big but refuses to pony up the big money.

If the Yankees are sending Newman and he impresses at the workout, they’ll close the deal.

alxn
5 years 2 months ago

I doubt the Yankees would throw that kind of money at him to be a middle reliever.

BoSoXaddict
5 years 2 months ago

I hope the Sox are still interested. With Beckett on the DL, Lackey & Buchholz underperforming as of late, Dice-K’s ridiculous inconsistency, Wake being Wake & Tazawa out for the season the Sox could definitely use him for depth. He’d probably start out in AA or AAA at first but could definitely make it up to the show sooner than later given all the rotay problems. He’s probably boys with Jose Iglesias as well.

5 years 2 months ago

I think the Yankees are trying to rebuild that team from 1990’s! And why not, it was classic!

aap212
5 years 2 months ago

What if the Mets sign him for a fair chunk of change and he isn’t any good, and it turns out the only thing you knew about him is that he’s Cuban and you’ve heard of him? Cuban players are overhyped nine times out of ten.

mc7283
5 years 2 months ago

he compares more to el duque than adrian hernandez… adrian hernandez wasn’t a veteran in the Cuban National series… Maya has international success and cuban national series success on his resume. Maya is capable of being a starter in MLB, with a possibility to succeed as El Duque did.

mc7283
5 years 2 months ago

He should be hyped more-so than chapman, he is a complete pitcher and displayed success in international tournaments and the cuban national series… chapman never displayed success.. but what made chapman so hyped was his ability to throw 100 MPH… but with Chapman’s makeup he may or may not be a good starter… if he puts it together he could be, but if he doesn’t he is nothing more than Joel Zumaya. Maya has 5 plus pitches, and the ability to throw strikes, when scouts see him and he comes here he could put it all together and be a great signing.