4:12pm: A team source tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter) that a deal is “not close.”
3:42pm: The Reds and Cuban right-hander Raisel Iglesias are nearing a deal, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. As Morosi notes, Max Wildstein was the first to say that the two sides were closing in on an agreement earlier this week (Twitter link).
Morosi spoke with Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman, who has seen the 24-year-old Iglesias pitch extensively and thinks he could be in the Majors after just a month or so in the minor leagues, making it conceivable that if the deal is finalized, he’ll pitch for Cincinnati this season (Twitter links).
As Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote last fall upon Iglesias original attempt to defect — he was detained once prior to successfully defecting to Mexico — Iglesias threw 88 to 92 mph at last year’s World Baseball Classic but has been considerably more impressive in the past, flashing 92 to 95 mph velocity and a sweeping breaking ball that sat between 76 and 81 mph. Badler did note on more than one occasion that Iglesias would likely need to begin his career in the minor leagues rather than jumping directly to the Majors.
Iglesias’ stats are available over at ObstructedView.com, which shows that in his past 82 2/3 innings, he’s posted a 3.05 ERA with a 74-to-30 K/BB ratio (five of those walks were intentional). The Reds could use bullpen help, as they rank 22nd in the Majors with a 3.97 ERA from their relief corps and announced today that Sean Marshall will undergo shoulder surgery.