While much of the focus has been on stud prospect Yoan Moncada, another Cuban infielder — veteran Hector Olivera — is the biggest wild card looming over the traditional free agent market. Another intriguing younger player is available in Andy Ibanez, and the market also saw yet another possible infusion of talent over the weekend, with young righty Vladimir Gutierrez and infielder Dainer Moreira defecting. Here’s the latest…
- Gutierrez is applying for political asylum in Puerto Rico, according to El Nuevo Dia, a Puerto Rican newspaper (hat tip to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez). If he claims asylum in Puerto Rico and then establishes residence in another country, he’ll go through the usual international signing process. If he establishes residence in Puerto Rico, however, Gutierrez would be eligible for the first-year draft since Puerto Rico is a United States territory.
- Moncada has at least one workout scheduled during the week of February 16th-20th, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports (via Twitter), so Badler doesn’t think the phenom will sign before then.
- Olivera petitioned MLB for free agency two weeks ago and has not yet received a determination, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports on Twitter. On the positive side for Olivera, it would appear that the new rules regarding clearance of Cuban players will permit him to sign as soon as he receives the nod from MLB.
- While Olivera waits, he is working out for clubs and trying to build a market, as Sanchez further tweets. Olivera has held session recently for the Padres, Mariners, Giants, Yankees, and Braves. He has open showcases scheduled for this Friday and next Wednesday.
- Indeed, the Mariners had more than the usual contingent on hand to see both Olivera and Ibanez, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Seattle sent not only GM Jack Zduriencik but also president Kevin Mather to join international director Tim Kissner in the Dominican Republic for the private workout. As Badler notes, that level of front office involvement is unusual, and is all the more odd in this case since the club has Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager installed in the infield.
- Cuban baseball documentary project El Trogon (cinematographer Jonathan Miller, director Sami Kahn) has video from Puerto Rico depicting Gutierrez and Moreira, who left their team, Pinar del Rio, during the Caribbean Series.