Dalier Hinojosa Rumors

AL East Links: Lester, Hinojosa, Cruz, Orr

George Digby, a Red Sox scout from 1944 to 1994 and a scouting consultant until 2004, passed away on Friday at age 96.  Digby’s long career earned him a spot in the Red Sox Hall Of Fame and his many signings included such notable names as Wade Boggs, Mike Greenwell and Jody Reed.  An even bigger name, however, eluded Digby through no fault of his own.  As ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes relates, Digby pushed the Red Sox to sign Willie Mays in 1949 yet got nowhere thanks to the club’s ban on black players that shamefully existed until 1959.  The MLBTR staff extends our condolences to Digby’s family and many friends around baseball.

Here’s the latest from the AL East…

  • Jon Lester recorded a career-best 15 strikeouts over eight innings of one-hit ball in a 6-3 Boston win over Oakland today.  MLB.com’s Mike Bauman notes that such performances are what makes Lester so valuable to the Red Sox and it only raises the southpaw’s asking price on his next contract.  When last we heard about negotiations, Lester and the Sox had reportedly suspended talks until the end of the season.
  • Dalier Hinojosa has a 7.15 ERA and 12 walks over his first 11 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket, yet the PawSox coaching staff isn’t yet concerned about the Cuban right-hander, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes.  This is not only Hinojosa’s first taste of American pro baseball since signing a $4.25MM contract with the Red Sox in October, but it is also his first time pitching in cold weather, which the PawSox coaches believe is affecting his performance.
  • Nelson Cruz is off to a hot start and is only under contract through 2014, though MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski opines that the Orioles shouldn’t be in any rush to extend Cruz’s contract.  The O’s have other long-term deals for building block players (i.e. Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy) to consider first, plus Baltimore can also extend a qualifying offer to Cruz in the offseason.
  • Infielder Pete Orr wanted to sign with the Blue Jays last winter, his agent Blake Corosky tells Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.  “Pete made it clear to them that they were his first choice and starting in [Triple-A] Buffalo was fine.  But they were equally clear there were better options and that they liked him but not enough,” Corosky said.  Orr, born just outside Toronto in nearby Richmond Hill, instead signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.

Twins Notes: Perkins, Mauer, International Free Agents

The Twins announced yesterday that All-Star closer Glen Perkins underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his right knee. Perkins, who saved 36 games for the Twins with a 2.30 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Here's more out of the Twin Cities…

  • Joe Mauer is symptom-free after missing the final 39 games of the regular season with a concussion, GM Terry Ryan told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. There's been chatter of moving Mauer to first base to preserve his health in the Minnesota media, but both Ryan and Mauer himself have said that Mauer will catch in 2014.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN writes that the Twins were in on Dalier Hinojosa prior to his $4.25MM agreement with the Red Sox over the weekend. Though Hinojosa has pitched as both a starter and a reliever, the Twins viewed the Cuban righty as a starter.
  • Wolfson adds that the Twins will watch Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne and Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz in Mexico in the coming weeks. Despaigne's agent said yesterday he expects to negotiate a contract with a Major League team while in Mexico.

Red Sox To Sign Dalier Hinojosa

TODAY, 8:34pm: Hinojosa's deal is for $4.25MM, a source tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (Twitter link).

TODAY, 8:37am: The Sox will pay Hinojosa a $4MM bonus, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted early this morning. 

YESTERDAY, 9:54pm: The Red Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports.  Terms of the deal aren't known, but the signing bonus won't count against Boston's international spending cap since Hinojosa is 27 years old.  Hinojosa is represented by Bart Hernandez and Praver/Shapiro.

The Sox were rumored to be interested in Hinojosa when he was cleared as a free agent last July.  The Dodgers, Cubs and Yankees were also reportedly interested in the righty, who Badler says is projected by many scouts as a relief pitcher.  Hinojosa throws "a slurvy breaking ball," a fastball in the 88-92 mph range, and another splitter/changeup-type of pitch.

Jeff Todd and Aaron Steen contributed to this post.



International Notes: Abreu, Hinojosa, Reds

Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu has generated quite a bit of buzz since defecting from the Cuban National team, with some believing he could surpass the contracts signed by Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig. Here's more on Abreu along with some other notes on the international market…

  • MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez spoke with Orioles rookie Henry Urrutia, a childhood friend of Abreu who says that Abreu is "like a brother" to him. Urrutia tells Sanchez that Abreu called him from an undisclosed location recently and is drawing interest from a number of agents who would love to represent him, though he has not yet selected representation.
  • Sanchez also tweets that Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa is currently evaluating offers but has yet to sign a deal. Hinojosa was reportedly granted free agency roughly a month ago and was connected to the Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees at that time.
  • The Reds have signed 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Reydel Medina for a $400K bonus, according to a release from the Dominican Prospect League. Baseball America's Ben Badler confirms the signing, noting that Medina is a left-handed hitter with a quick bat, projectable power and above-average times in the 60-yard dash. Some scouts are concerned about his crude approach at the plate, according to Badler. Medina's signing counts against the Reds' international bonus pool because he is under 23 years of age and does not have three years of professional experience.

Cuban Pitcher Hinojosa Granted Free Agency

Cuban righty Dalier Hinojosa received clearance from the U.S. government and has been granted free agency by MLB, tweets MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.  Hinojosa defected from Cuba in February, establishing residency in Haiti, according to a source.  The Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees are among the teams that have shown interest in the 27-year-old, Sanchez wrote in June.  Hinojosa is represented by Praver/Shapiro, MLBTR has learned, and he has already showcased his talents for teams.

Hinojosa throws in the low-to-mid 90s with a slider, curveball, two-seam fastball, and changeup, according to Sanchez.  He starred with the Cuban national team, and is a former teammate of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.  Gonzalez has also been cleared to sign with MLB teams.  There is no limitation to the contracts these Cuban defectors may receive, because they are at least 23 years old and have played as a professional in a Cuban professional league for at least three seasons.  For the 2014-15 international signing period, that minimum requirement will jump to five seasons.