It’s official – the Cubs have agreed to a 5-year, $6 million deal with Cuban lefty Gerardo Concepcion. $3 million will be paid as a signing bonus and the remaining $3 million will be paid over the course of the contract. Concepcion pitched in the Cuban Junior National Tournament 2 years and made 21 appearances in the Cuban National Series last year. At only 19 years of age, he was named the Series’ rookie of the year, going 10-3 with a 3.36 ERA for Inustralies. He made 16 starts and was highly sought after by several major league clubs.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about the announcement – “One of our focuses has been on continuing to bring in pitching depth, and he’s a 20-year old left hander, really good feel for pitching, three-pitch mix, has success at a really young age in Cuba. He’s a guy we’re excited to bring over here and work with… He’s certainly advanced when it comes to feel for pitching, but I don’t want to put expectations on him. Let’s get him to the minor leagues and let him get out and perform, we’ll figure that part out when we do that.”
The Cubs are also aggressively pursuing another young Cuban defector – Jorge Soler. While some reports have floated around that the Cubs and Soler have already agreed to a $27 million deal, MLB has strict rules on players not making deals until they are officially deemed to be “free agents”. With Cuban defectors, that can often be a lengthy process, so until MLB officially declares Soler to be a free agent, no MLB team can sign him.
We’ll keep you posted on Concepcion’s progress as well as any news on the Soler front…