Updated: 9:48 AM
The Cubs are beginning to become a presence in Cuba.
It seems that while the Gerardo Concepcion signing may not have worked out yet, it may have helped land a couple of other players. The most prominent is Jorge Soler, but the Cubs have now appeared to have signed Concepcion's former teammate, RHP Armando Rivero.
I don't know the details but his name popped up in AZ Phil's piece on AAA and AA assignments (h/t @davidrelliot). He's apparently in the Cubs AA camp. Haven't been able to confirm it but it makes sense as the Cubs were pursuing him as early as last year.
UPDATE: AZ Phil was able to confirm that the Cubs have signed Rivero, though he does not know terms or date he was signed yet.
I wrote about Rivero back over a year ago and it seemed there was some interest even back then. This is what I wrote in January of 2012,
Rivero was a teammate of Concepcion's and is very much the opposite type of pitcher. He's older, he's a power guy (96 mph), and he projects as a reliever. Some think he has a chance to start because he does have 3 pitches, but his quickest road is through the bullpen. He could start at AA.
I also wrote this last July,
Rivero is another power pitcher whom the Cubs have shown interest in...can top out at 96 mph right now. He also throws a slider and/or a curve (there is some disagreement here) and a splitter. He was used as a reliever in Cuba, but some teams think he has a chance to start.
Armando Rivero, rhp
Rivero and Concepcion were teammates with the Industriales in Cuba in 2010-11, but while Concepcion was a starter, Rivero worked out of the bullpen. Rivero's power played well as a reliever, as he posted a 3.06 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 47 innings in his final season in Cuba.
Rivero, 23, has a thin 6-foot-3 frame and pitches off of a plus fastball. He throws around 91-93 mph and has topped out at 96. His mechanics have some funkiness in the back with a slight hook, but some scouts say the ball comes comes out cleanly in the front from a low three-quarters arm slot. His best secondary pitch is a quality splitter with some late tumble.
Some scouts have said Rivero throws both a curveball and a slider, while others think it's two different versions of the same pitch. His breaking stuff is behind his splitter, flashing solid-average every once in a while but it's often a 45 on the 20-80 scale with more side-to-side action because his low slot makes it hard to stay on top of the ball.
Scouts don't want to limit Rivero to the bullpen just because he was used that way in Cuba, but many of them believe he best profiles as a middle reliever. Once he signs, he could start in Double-A.
Here is one more scouting report....
Simply put, Rivero is a power right handed arm that has the pieces to be a quick mover to the parent club. He is a long and loose arm guy that looks the part from the eyeball test right away, and still has a bit of projection He has a plusfastball with action and sits in the mid to upper 90s, topping out at 98 mph.
His two seam fastball has some late drop action that will make it an effective pitch down the road, and could become his bread and butter. He has been used his entire career with Cuban baseball as a closer and this is his future role with any organization that signs him.
He shows some mechanical traits that make it necessary to limit the amount of pitches he throws. His arm slot and angle show promise and he can spin a nasty slider down the line, which gives him a powerful arsenal at his disposal. Mechanically, sticking exclusively in a relief role should not pose a concern down the line as he matures.
I'll get more details if I can find them but I don't believe this was a big money signing andit did not cost a spot on the 40 man since he's on the AA roster. Keep in mind that he was not as highly regarded as Gerardo Concepcion last year. Interest in Rivero tailed off a bit (though the reason is uncertain), but at the very least it appears the Cubs may have added another good arm.