Raicel Iglesias Rumors
NOV. 19: Iglesias has now established residency in Mexico, tweets MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The next step in his process will be gaining clearance from the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and from Major League Baseball to sign with MLB teams.
NOV. 6: The number of recent Cuban defectors continues to grow, as reports from Diario de Cuba and the Havana Times have indicated that right-hander Raicel Iglesias has successfully defected from the country. Ibrahim Rojas of CMHS Radio Caibarién tells MLBTR that Iglesias is currently in Mexico.
Iglesias, 23, was detained on his first attempt to defect after running out of food and water while hiding in the mountains. In his second effort, which reportedly took place on Oct. 9, he successfully fled the country by sea. Iglesias is said by Ben Badler of Baseball America to possess a 92-95 mph fastball with a swing-and-miss breaking ball but questionable control. Badler feels that Iglesias would likely have to begin his pro career in the U.S. by starting in the minor leagues.
Because Iglesias is 23 years old and has more than three years of professional experience, he can sign for any amount and will not count against a team's international signing pool.
Right-hander Raicel Iglesias has been detained by Cuban authorities for attempting to defect, three sources have told Diario De Cuba (h/t Ben Badler of Baseball America). An employee of the Dirección de Deportes en Nueva Gerona confirmed Iglesias is being detained and will no longer train with the local team.
Diaro De Cuba reports the 23-year-old was hiding in the mountains of Isla de la Juventud until Thursday when he left searching for food and water. The report says Iglesias attempted to leave Cuba September 22 in the area of Punta de Piedra, but failed. Diaro De Cuba quotes Lázaro Ricardo Pérez, an independent journalist, as saying Iglesias was hiding with several individuals, including his brother, and all were dehyrdated. Pérez added rumors of the right-hander's escape became public Tuesday alerting authorities while Iglesias was still in hiding.
Iglesias, who impressed scouts on Cuba's U.S. tour where he hit 92-95 mph on the gun and made batters miss often with his breaking ball, according to Badler, could be released from custody as early as today, but it is not known whether he will face charges.
Earlier in the week it was reported that Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero could sign with a team soon. There are four or five teams who have seen the 26-year-old Guerrero work out five or six times, according to new agent Scott Boras. Here's the latest on a couple of other Cuban names who figure to make headlines in the offseason...
- Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu will have two open showcases for all teams next week, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Abreu will audition for teams at the Yankees’ Dominican facility on Monday and Tuesday and It’s expected that he will field grounders at first base, take batting practice, then face some live pitching. However, he isn’t expected to play in any games or simulated games.
- Pitcher Raicel Iglesias is rumored to have defected from Cuba, writes Nelson Acosta of Reuters. The 23-year-old impressed scouts on Cuba's U.S. tour where he hit 92-95 mph on the gun and made batters miss often with his breaking ball, according to Badler, who also passes along a highlight reel of the hurler. Right now, it appears that Iglesias' biggest problem is control. At 5'11" and 165 pounds, he's also a bit undersized. Badler feels that Iglesias is likely to begin his career in the minors.