10:10pm: A medical matter of some kind gummed up the arrangement, ESPN.com’s Keith Law tweets, though the precise issue isn’t known.
7:37pm: The Astros have voided their agreement with top Cuban pitching prospect Cionel Perez, sources tell Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs (via Twitter). It’s not yet clear what caused the deal to fall apart, though it’s certainly possible that a health problem was identified.
Perez, 20, reportedly agreed in September to a $5.15MM signing bonus to go to Houston. The team had already spent beyond its international bonus pool, meaning that it had to match that amount in an overage tax. Perez was (and will still be) subject to the international signing limitations given his age and lack of experience in Cuba’s top league.
The youngster has drawn rave reviews from prospect hounds. Longenhagen rated him the seventh-best player available in this year’s July 2 signing period — second only to fellow Cuba lefty Adrian Morejon among pitchers.
While he lacks a large frame and hasn’t quite fully harnessed his command, Perez features good arm speed and athleticism, per Longenhagen’s assessment. He works into the mid-nineties with his fastball and has shown several promising secondary pitches.
It’s not known whether Houston will look to renegotiate with Perez, but the team is stuck regardless with the max penalty (two years without $300K+ international bonuses) due to its other additions. Other teams could certainly jump into the mix, though presumably Perez won’t have quite the same earning capacity now. Reports at the time of his signing suggested that the Orioles, Padres, and Reds had chased the young southpaw, though Longenhagen noted that as many as ten teams were interested to some degree.