Red Sox team President and CEO Larry Lucchino was on WEEI earlier on Thursday morning to discuss a few matters for his team. One note that came up with Cuban international free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the most highly sought after pitcher on the international market at this time. According to Lucchino, the Sox are looking at Gonzalez "pretty hard."
That's because Gonzalez projects as a starter in the majors, and only costs one thing: money. Lucchino states that an acquisition that only costs money -- no prospects, no draft picks -- is an ideal one. Considering the Red Sox could sign Gonzalez to a deal and stick him in Triple-A, then push him to the rotation in the majors after a few weeks if some of the scouting reports are to be believed, Lucchino is more than hinting that this might be the preferable route to making a trade for someone else's starter who wouldn't have the team control of an international free agent, nor the money-only price tag.
The 26-year-old Gonzalez has varying opinions on his future, according to Baseball America's scouting report on the right-hander:
Scouts generally agree that Gonzalez is a major leaguer, but projections vary significantly. Scouts highest on Gonzalez see his upside as a No. 3 starter who could pitch in the big leagues immediately, or at least soon after getting acclimated with some Triple-A time.
Others see a back-end starter, a middle relief option or a long reliever as more realistic projections given their concerns about how his stuff will play the second time through the order and as major league teams become more familiar with him. The lack of success from Nationals righthander Yunesky Maya, who had a strong record in Cuba with more pitchability but less velocity than Gonzalez, is a concern for some organizations.
Given Lucchino's sentiments above, you can assume Boston is one of the organizations that's higher on Gonzalez, and believes his future to be in the rotation. So long as the cost of acquiring Gonzalez considers that he might not be a #3 or even a starter -- i.e. don't hand him Anibal Sanchez money -- there seems to be little harm in focusing on signing him and seeing if he's as good as Boston's scouts believe him to be.
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