Raisel Iglesias: Reds sign Cuban right-hander in hopes of shoring up rotation

SAN FRANCISCO - The Cincinnati Reds are turning to another Cuban arm in an effort to stabilize their rotation.

General manager Walt Jocketty announced Friday that the organization has agreed to terms with 24-year-old right-hander Raisel Iglesias.

"He has four quality pitches, and our scouts feel he can be a starter and be a starter very soon," Jocketty said in of Iglesias in a release. "He's a tremendous athlete, a converted shortstop. He throws 94 to 96 with two quality breaking pitches, a curveball and power slider, and has the makings of a quality changeup."

The deal is for seven years and runs through the 2020 season and is worth up to $27 million.

Iglesias is guaranteed $26.5 million and can earn an extra $500,000 this year between his salary of $1,016,666 and a $250,000 reporting bonus if he reports to a minor league affiliate and receives U.S. work authorizations by Aug. 15.

He gets a $5 million signing bonus, of which $1.5 million is due when the contract is approved by the commissioner's office, $1 million on Nov. 15, $1 million on Nov. 15, 2015, and $1.5 million on Nov. 15, 2016. He gets a maximum $500,000 this year between salary and reporting bonus, and salaries of $1 million next year, $2.5 million in 2016, $3.5 million in 2017, $4.5 million in 2018 and $5 million in each of the following two seasons.

Listed at Pedro Martinez-like 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, Iglesias threw for big league scouts, including the Reds, last month in Haiti, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Reds scouts reportedly went back to Haiti a second to him to watch him throw.

Iglesias defected from Cuba in November after a failed attempt in September.

Iglesias pitched for Isla de la Juventud in Cuba's National Series for three seasons and compiled an 8-12 record and 3.47 ERA over five starts and 83 relief appearances. He allowed 202 hits, 115 walks while striking out 169 in 223 total innings. He allowed 11 home runs.

While the numbers don't necessarily suggest Iglesias is bound for superstardom, Jocketty said the team's scouts were impressed with what they saw. Otherwise they wouldn't have made the move.

"The decision was based on the evaluation of our scouts, the same group of guys who went to see (Aroldis) Chapman," Jocketty said. "I guarantee you we saw him pitch more than any other club. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for the evaluation of our scouts. They're hard-working and very diligent."

Jocketty said the deal reflects the organization's collective desire to stick to the fundamentals.

"What we've tried to develop here is pitching and defense. The more pitching we can acquire, the deeper we can get, the more flexibility it gives us going forward," he said.

"It was a great organizational effort to get this done, and we're very excited about it."

Iglesias will join the organization once visa issues are resolved.

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