Cubs sign Cuban pitching prospect Yoanner Negrin

Updated 3:15 p.m.

The Cubs today have officially signed another good international prospect, this time from Cuba.  He is a right-handed pitcher named Yoanner Negrin, and while it's hard to find information on Cuban prospects, I did manage to find this information from an excerpt of an interview with Carlos Perez, Director of Baseball Operations at Wasserman Media Group:

Negrin can throw 90 MPH consistently with his fastball and can reach as high as 94 MPH. Negrin throws four seamers, sliders, changeups, curveball and two seamers.

I also found a quote directly from Negrin on "Deporte Cubano".  It is in Spanish, of course, so I will translate that for you...

"I am a pitcher who depends a lot on his control, although I have reached 94 MPH.  I work with a slider, sinker, and forkball, what's more, I can start or relieve." 

The report, though, said that Negrin admitted his idols were Francisco Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera.  It would seem he prefers to relieve.  If you read Spanish and would like to see the original article, click here.  The article also talks about current Class A Boise catcher Yaniel Cabezas, who signed with the Cubs last year.

The report did say that he was 25 years old at the time, making him either 26 or 27 depending on his exact birthday.   Despite his age, he's considered one of the top available Cuban players at this time.  Unlike a lot of international signings, it seems Negrin is already very polished and may be able to help the Cubs sooner rather than later.

Note: This agreement was reached a week or so ago, but it only became official today.

Thanks to reader Wesley for another great tip!

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  • Excellent! Very happy with the talent the Cubs are accumulating! It has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal season.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    You can never have too many good arms in your system! He seems like a pretty polished guy. He's a little older but it also means he could be a lot closer to contributing. Especially since he may end up as a reliever.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For all the beating the Cubs have taken in the press, I'm actually more optomistic now than I have been in a long time. With payroll flexibility and young talent, the Cubs are on the right path....finally!
    Jackson looks like the real deal. With Jackson and Castro at the top, I'm hoping we can add a LH middle of the order bat via free agency. I'm also encouraged that Vitters seems to be putting up a solid full season at AA. He really is right on schedule, considering he's only 21.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Jackson and Castro will make a nice combo at the top. I'm pretty optimistic too. I think they'll make some progress next year and then by 2013 I believe they'll really have a chance to work in some more young players as well as veterans through trade and free agency.

    They still lack an impact bat and the hope was once that Vitters could be it. He still may be but he's at least a year away. He really needs to work on laying off some pitches and waiting for a pitch to drive. I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs let him repeat a level, whether it's in AA or AAA, just so he can get the confidence to let some pitches go by and know he can wait for a better one.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm torn on the Fielder/Pujols issue. It was like you said, you don't get an opportunity to get these types of player very often. If you put either of those guys in the middle of the order, that really does change everything.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    The problem with both though, is not whether or not they're worth their contract at signing date, but the fact that they'll likely be shadows of their former selves by the time the contract is over.

    I would personally prefer Fielder, but on a 5 year contract maximum.

    But I don't think we should spend just because we can, there is always an awkward feeling around one player being on a different salary level than the rest of the team.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    I prefer Fielder as well, and yes 5 years is perfect. That puts him around 33-34 years old, and he would have 1 good contract left at that point, and we could walk away without another Soriano situation on our hands.

  • It's always good to sign young arms and it's also nice to take a dip in the Cuban talent pool. As of right now with few exceptions ( e.g Aroldis Chapman) the players leaving Cuba are either really raw kids or borderline prospects, the best stay in Cuba for a variety of reasons. I really believe when/if the US lifts the embargo we will see a flood of Cuban talent that will dwarf the Dominican Republic. Cuba is , more or less, a bigger version of the Dominican Republic, a country wild about Baseball where everybody plays it.

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