The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly interested in Cuban left handed pitcher Osvaldo Hernandez. He’s 18-years-old and is eligible to sign now. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com was the first to report this.

It’s worth noting here that the timing is very important. The Cincinnati Reds have gone over their spending limit pool for the current period. However, they are able to keep spending until the end of this signing period (June 15th). They will have to pay a 100% tax on whatever they pay for a player they sign moving forward. So, if they signed a player for $2M, they would also have to pay a fine of $2M to Major League Baseball. The Boston Red Sox can’t sign anyone until July 2nd as a part of a penalty for working around rules in the previous signing period.

The Cincinnati Reds have been very aggressive in the Cuban pitching market. It all started with Aroldis Chapman and continued with Raisel Iglesias. Last year the team picked up Vladimir Gutierrez as well. It’s easily been their most successful, and also their most expensive endeavor on the amateur market.

The left hander never pitched in the Cuban National Series before he left the country. That gives us no stats to compare him to other Cuban pitchers. There’s very little information out there on the lefty currently. He pitched for Team Cuba in the Pan-Am Games in the past, allowing just four hits in 10.1 innings against Team USA. Here’s the line from the two games:

Date IP H ER BB K
10/1/2016 5.1 2 1 3 5
10/9/2016 4.1 3 2 1 0

He also performed well in the Cuban “minor leagues” where he went 8-1 with a 0.92 ERA in 68.0 innings according to an article in the El Nuevo Herald.

With the Reds being limited for the next two years, they should be pursuing any and all talent that they consider to be premiere talent while they still can. Even if they have to overpay for it a little bit, they can make that up in the budget the next two seasons when they will be ineligible to sign anyone for over $300,000. There’s obviously a limit on what you want to overspend on a player on, but with limited opportunities it makes sense to go hard for players like this.

13 Responses

  1. Steve

    C’mon DW, go get this guy. Hope Luis Robert also becomes available soon.

  2. The Duke

    A young LH already in the 90’s possibly with more projection left, what’s not to like? If he can spin any sort of breaking ball it’d be like taking a HS pitcher with a live arm. Go get talent while you can.

  3. Norwood Nate

    Get who you can while you can. No sense in not trying to add more top talent when it’s available.

  4. Datdudejs

    Yes please. Also everyone cross your fingers that Luis Robert becomes eligible to sign before the deadline. That would be huge

  5. MK

    Gave the Braves $13million yesterday. Heck, what is a few more million in fines. Just raise beer prices a dollar.

    • Norwood Nate

      Or you could look at it as the Reds saved a million dollars yesterday since that money was already budgeted for. Might as well use that million saved on the international market.

  6. MK

    I see where the Reds signed 17 and 18 year olds pitchers Samuel Berroa, Jorge Mallen, Uralim German, Carlos Santos and outfielder Deybert Lozano last week. Are these all guys they had to pay double for with the penalties?

  7. Todd

    Doug – what was the name of the elite Cuban position player you recently posted about (or maybe he was from another Caribbean island)?