Cubs in on top international free agents OF Eloy Jimenez and RHP Miguel Gonzalez

Cubs in on top international free agents OF Eloy Jimenez and RHP Miguel Gonzalez
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

There are a couple of interesting articles out today on two Cubs targets, one one Dominican OF Eloy Jimenez by Baseball America's Ben Badler and another on Cuban RHP Miguel Gonzalez by's Jesse Sanchez.

Sanchez describes Gonzalez here,

The hard-throwing right-hander has a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, fork and a curveball. He made a splash on the international scene at the 2010 University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, and also shined at the Baseball World Cup in '09 and '11. He was suspended from Cuba's national team for most of the past two seasons for trying to leave the island.

Because he is 26, he does not fall under the new CBA restrictions and there are no limitations as to how much the Cubs, or any other team, can spend to sign him.  We saw the Dodgers break the bank for Yasiel Puig at 7 years, $42M while the Cubs spent $27M over 9 years to nab talented outfielder Jorge Soler.  The age also means he's likely close to being MLB ready.

Here is Gonzalez (#75 and at beginning of video, h/t CubsML) mowing down some Team USA hitters:

Both the Cubs and Dodgers are in on Gonzalez, as are the Red Sox, Rangers, and three other unnamed teams.

We've talked about Eloy Jimenez in the past here and here, but Badler has more scouting information this time around.

Some scouts feel he is a better player than Elier Hernandez, who received $3M from the Kansas City Royals.  This year, Jimenez is widely expected to get the largest signing bonus in this year's class and Badler said the Cubs are in "heavy pursuit".  Earlier he had described them as "heavy favorites".  Scouts compared Jimenez with the Royals' Hernandez.  Here is one of those comparisons,

“He’s a lanky, long-armed hitter,” said a third international director. “He’s very similar to Elier Hernandez. They’re calm in the box during BP—(Nina) teaches them well—so they’re pretty efficient, pretty simple. They don’t have a lot going on before the swing and they’re not wild hackers, so that’s all good. But it’s all about games, tools turning into skills and how they perform in the game.”

In general, Jimenez is described as a hitter than needs some polish, but all the tools are there for him to hit.  As one scout said, it's a natural skills, you either have it or you don't.  Jimenez appears to have it, but it hasn't always shown up in games.

What Jimenez has is good size, excellent hand-eye coordination, good swing plane, bat speed, and the ability to barrel up baseballs consistently.  He hasn't shown power yet because he needs to gain strength and perhaps add a little lift to his swing, but he can drive the ball into the gaps right now.

Apart from his bat, Jimenez is said to have above average speed, good instincts, and a strong arm, which should help him become a good outfielder.  Off the field, he is described as a good, intelligent kid with a strong upbringing and good work ethic.

Of course, he is still 16 -- though he's already 6'4", 200 lbs., so there is a lot of work to be done.  The younger age also means he will be subject to the new CBA rules, so the Cubs will have to work within their signing pool, which is the 2nd highest in baseball.  The Astros, of course, are first.

The Cubs are also interested in SS Gleyber Torres, and most think the Cubs will sign him.  Torres already has advanced baseball skills for his age.  He has a strong arm and is  good hitter with some power potential.

Sounds like some exciting talent.  Now let's go get 'em.




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  • fb_avatar

    Ned Colletti will sign these guys for 7 years, $225 mil each.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Ha! He can do it with Gonzalez, but not Jimenez, who is bound by the CBA restrictions. The Dodgers don't have the pool money to sign him. Astros the only real threat but they don't appear to be in on him.

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    John, how much do the Cubs have to spend per MLB for this year's crop of International FA's?

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    What is "a good swing plane"?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Swing path that matches the path of the baseball -- conducive to making good, consistent contact.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    So, theoretically, if a pitcher is throwing with a good downward plane, there should be a slight uppercut to the swing to match the path of the ball?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's more of a general thing to say he has good swing plane. It really doesn't have anything to do with a pitcher's downward plane. It's more about how long his bat stays in the hitting zone, giving him a better chance to make contact.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Gotcha, thanks.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's what Ted Williams told Kris Bryant's father, Mike, once upon a time. Mike Davis passed that tidbit on to Kris.

  • Here's video on Jiminez:

  • I only money (not ours) Go for it

  • In reply to emartinezjr:


  • I hope that by August 1 we can be happy with the great young
    talent added to the system

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm already happy with it, but I want to be happier.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I want to win with said talent.

  • Let's hope we get them all....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. Sign all the prospects! At least all 3 of these guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    yeah and i was hoping they had some Catching prospects in mind. We're so thin there as an organization and this draft was one to get some guys... but we didn't.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think the Cubs prefer to find candidates that can switch to the position. There are very few amateurs who project to stay at catcher -- and hit. And those guys are often taken in the first or 2nd round. After that, you probably have to gamble on projects.

  • Gonzalez looks good delivery looks repeatable good frame hope we get both of them

  • When will these guys start signing?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I believe July 2nd is the date they can start signing.

  • I hope they land Gonzalez. This organization still needs big time pitching like that. $40+ mm would be a posting fee for a Japanese pitcher equivalent to Gonzalez. Thanks for the info John!

  • what is gonzalez projected to be? if he's a number 2 starter type then i'm all for it, but idk if its necessary to get in a bidding war for a guy who projects as a #4.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Stuff sounds a lot like a #3 to front line guy, but what separates a front line guy from a 3 is command. No word on how good that is.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I am hearing all of his pitches are at least average to above average with flashes of plus pitches (FB, CB and split)

  • "Sounds like some exciting talent. Now let's go get 'em."
    Now's the time to toucha da merchandisa and buy it, lol!!! Right, John?
    And speaking of Yasiel Puig, who was scouted by their long time trusted scout at an international tournament a few years ago in Toronto, the same scout who signed Fernando Valenzuela, he had 3 hits in 4 at bats after returning from a bruised shoulder after being hit in the face and the later brawl.

  • How does Jimenez compare to Soler?

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Some similarities. Tall, good hitters with slightly above average speed, good arms. Power potential not yet fully developed.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The biggest difference, of course, is that Jimenez is more than 4 years younger than Soler was when he signed, and almost 6 years younger than he is now.

    If they sign him, it will probably be a couple of years before he even plays baseball in the US, and about 5 years before he ever plays for the Cubs, if then.

    I hope they sign him. But signing 16 year olds is an incredible crap shoot.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Well, yeah. I was just concentrating on similarities. These players are young, and it is a crapshoot -- but lots of good future MLB players are signed during this period. Teams like Texas, Yankees, and others have done well and Cubs need to get on their level.

  • I would sure like all three! Are the bids for the pitcher concealed bids? Or open to all of MLB?

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    It's open bidding. The concealed bids are characteristic of Pacific Rim free agents, specifically regarding the posting fee.

  • does anyone have any idea how much gonzalez would cost, in a per year sense. im guessing whoever signs him will give him a 3-6 year deal, but for how much?

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    John. I know this might be impossible to answer but where, if any, would these three guys land in the Cubs' minor league system top 10?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Definitely not Jimenez or Torres. They are too young. Gonzalez, possibly, but I don't know enough about him yet.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Would it still be a substantial shot to the farm system, in a positive way obviously?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Jiminez & Torres are 16yo's and won't be in Boise for a couple years so they are definitely out. I don't know enough about Gonzalez to say.

  • Given the scarcity of good FA pitching options over the next couple of seasons, I'm guessing the bidding will be pretty significant on Gonzalez.

    Taking LAD's ongoing spending spree into account, I wonder if other teams are at a disadvantage in an open negotiation , compared to the posting system.

    This guy might go a long way toward alleviating the disappointment of any Jonathan Gray holdouts in our forum, here.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    At some point, the Dodgers will stop getting people. They will literally run out of room. As much as you want all the players, it just isn't possible.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    One of the things I read on him, said he could join a MLB rotation in 2013. IDK... he hasn't played competitively in 2 years and he had some elbow issues. Still they know about this stuff than we do.

    But yeah, I can see this getting pricey. No posting Bid like there was with Darvish. No draft picks to forfeit.... etc. Let's hope the Cubs get all the information there is and get it done. The last thing I want to hear is how the purse strings weren't opened up enough...

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    I really hope the cubs can get Gonzalez especially. He would be a great addition to the cubs rotation and they need some good arms. If he pitches well the cubs could have a pretty good rotation. But hopefully the cubs can sign them all. This is where the cubs can gain even more ground in the rebuild which I think is coming along very nicely.

  • OK, What;s sticking out of Gonzalez's elbow in the pic?

  • In reply to giamby:

    IDK - looks weird though doesn't it?

  • In reply to giamby:

    That is skin from around the pitchers elbow. The velocity the generate gives the skin almost a turkey neck look. Think how much force is on that elbow on every throw! It is amazing elbows are not blown even more often!

  • There also has to be SOME internal cap on their spending. It looks like they're about to back up the truck for Kershaw, as well. Kershaw, Kemp, Crawford, AGon, Eithier, Beckett. They have some serious $ commitments there- most of them long-term.

  • I have a question: If Gonzalez was suspended for 2 years for trying to leave the Island, where is he now? Still in Cuba, or did he make his way here yet, or to the D.R.? I hope the Cubs can sign him. Can't never have enough pitchers. Maybe there's the next Goose Gossage out there. I know that one Carlos Marmol is one way too many, tho!

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Usually they go to the DR.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    According to MLBTraderumors he defected this season and is residing in Mexico...

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    Thanks Denim. Mexico is the other usual landing place for Cubans.

  • Off topic: The Rob Zastryzny signing is official.

    From Zastryzny himself via Twitter:

    "Officially part of the Chicago Cubs organization. Thanks for all the support and I can't wait to start the journey" #Cubs

    Waiting for Jim Callis to make it official with signing bonus now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Love it! Cubs have done a great job of compiling a mix of raw, hard throwing kids that need polish along with guys like Zastryzny and Hendricks. Guys that just flat out have command and know how to pitch.

    Thinking back, it's amazing how far the farm system has come starting with the 2011 draft(which you wrote was a game changer), to the current draft we just had.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Yep. This process actually started one year before Theo and company got here -- though I think they would have done things differently (i.e. I think they probably wouldn't have drafted Baez), but give credit to the old guard for finding some good players.

    These last two drafts and the international signings, however, have really added impact players. They've kept the momentum going and, if anything, they added to it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What changed as much as anything in 2010 was the ownership. No more of Sam Zell and the Trib going cheap on the front office and the draft. I know they have there detractors, but all in all so far the Ricketts have seen willing to make this orginaztion better. Lets applaud them for that.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Zastryzny has a little more Velo then Henricks

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    I love that the Cubs are looking at international prospects aggressively these days. As other commentors have pointed out - I hope they sign all three guys they seem to be targeting. This is exactly how to keep building the prospect pool - use every possible method of obtaining talent - especially in the case of a guy like Gonzalez, since he doesn't fall under the CBA rules.

  • In reply to Tom Wozniak:

    Except for Soler, these guys have been the ones they've been missing out on. Hope they win the bid this year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The nice part about this is that, unlike Darvish and Ryu, they know exactly what other teams are bidding and can top it if they want to.

    The Dodgers and their monopoly money still scare me, though. Especially since they're probably thinking Cubans are the way to go at the moment.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It did work out pretty well for them before.

  • I want a Zastryzny Jersey! where do I get one? I'll gladly trade my Kosuke Fukudome Jersey for one Hahaha!

  • Let's hope they can outbid for at least 1 top prospect, 2 would be great

  • Let's hope they can sign at 2 of their top 3 prospects under the
    cap in order to sign hard to sign picks 4-7.

  • fb_avatar

    John. Quick Question. What is going on with Jorge Soler? He was pulled from the ASG and now is not playing tonight.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I don't know. All I know is he was pulled and isn't playing today. Daytona tends to be very tight-lipped about injuries.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Sorry, but your icon deeply disturbs me. (Not being a hater.)

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Pulled calf muscle, I think. Maybe 7-day DL?

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Just tweeted out from @sahadevsharma. It's a strain but probably no 7 day DL.

  • Brett Jackson's last 10 games: 20 strikeouts.

    They should probably give him a day or two off. I doubt it would make matters worse.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eldrad:

    ....or much better. The new swing hasn't done much for the strikeouts, but it has sapped his power. IMO, he's not a prospect anymore. John ranked him 18th recently, but I think he was just being polite

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Some of it is respect because he has been such a good player and he does have 4 solid tools. The lack of a hit tool threatens to undermine everything, however. And he has made it to the majors, so that's more talent than most minor leaguers. Not sure he'll make the top 20 next time around. We'll see.

  • Is going to hard in Nov to deceide who to take off the 40-man roster

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    B Jackson

  • Brett Jackson & Vitters are both looking as if things aren't going to work out for them.

    On the other hand, I have a strange but firm sense that things are going to work out for Szczur . I can see him being a spark plug at the top of the lineup, with his speed and improved OBP skills. The defense has always been solid.He can be a nice placeholder for AA. I know most of the forum says 4-5 th OFer but I'm betting on the athleticism and extreme competitiveness -ala Shark.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carl9730:

    It's scouts who say 4th/5th OF, mostly because he hasn't developed any power. And he doesn't have a very sound swing.

    But he gets very high marks for intangibles, and pretty much everyone thinks he'll be the best player that Matt can possibly be, based on work ethic, coachability, etc.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Except he is nowhere near the athlete Shark was. People heard football and NFL draft and made the same connection. Samardzija was going to be a 1st or 2nd round pick in the NFL. Szczur was a late round guy at best. Good chance he wasn't going to get drafted at all. Samardzija basically had the same speed and athelticism, but was about 6 inches taller and had about 30-40 pounds on Szczur. Completely different animals.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I actually saw one report that had Szczur as high as a 3rd round NFL pick. I don't remember the time frame, maybe it was earlier in his college career. Also saw another one that had him as a 5th rounder. But yeah, he was not the caliber of player that Samardzija was.

  • fb_avatar

    "A source has confirmed that the Chicago Cubs have officially signed left-hander Rob Zastryzny to a contract after selecting him in the second round (41st overall) in this year's draft. Zastryzny will receive a bonus of $1.1 million, which is $261,900 less than the assigned slot value for the 41st selection, $1,361,900."

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Nice. I imagine they'll save a little money with each of their first 3 picks this year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Which is almost as good as cash.

  • Trade deadline coming up....another Cubs season will be the terms that "core" players are not producing or advancing in their skills..............Castro in a slump....Barney not hitting....Rizzo struggles at times.....Samardzija is pitching more like a #4 than a #2 pitcher.......Jackson, Vitters and others on the farm are at a crossroads in this organization.........Soler, Almora and Baez are at least 2 years away....what if they struggle early when called up?........can anyone say this Cubs team will be in he playoffs by 2015?.......Garza, Feldman, DeJesus will be gone........who knows what we get in year at this time, will E. Jackson, Russell and Samardzija be trade bait?....will the Cubs ever find a reliever who can just get outs out in the 9th?.........Will Theo be able to sign top rank players to play in Chicago instead players coming off of surgery or a bench player trying to revise their career?..........there are many serious issues on this Cubs also is Dale the manager for this team beyond 2014?........other teams always improve...why can't the Cubs?.......little too late for Soriano to start speaking up about his teammates.....if Theo is directing Dale to keep on using Marmol in the 9th, then it has to be for Theo to make sure he has the #1 slot for next years draft.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    You really need to lay off the crack.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That's the best you can say?.......go back and paste more web links.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    No that's not the best I can say. It's just the nicest thing I could say. I could've said that you are a poster child for a prophylactic, and I'd probably have been right, but I didn't say that. I could've said that you should be castrated so that you may not contaminate the rest of society, but I didn't say that either. I could've said, in my thick Southern drawl, "Boy, when I get home tonight, I'm gonna slap your momma for having you," but I didn't.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think you just reviewed yourself of what your life is all about.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    You keep thinking that Stever Rosenbloom, or is it Phil Rogers, but reality is that you are as bad as the kool-aid drinkers. You're just at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's also possible that you are a disillusioned kool-aid drinker. Take a step back dude. It's not all bad. It sure as hell isn't all good either, but it isn't all bad.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Ah another same-old-fuzzy-rant from the Nostradamus who predicted "88 wins and a playoff berth" just weeks ago. Obviously cannot make up his "mind"; now he's on the Cubs R Hopeless binge.

    (I know in posting this I set myself up for another inaccurate, tasteless slam on Kenny Hubbs somehow being a CubStalker joke for dying at 22 in a plane crash, but
    This Sick Act Just Gets OLD.)

    Thanks to all the sane Den posters, all 99 44/100 percent of you.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Well said sir.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Trade deadline coming up -- Yep

    another Cubs season will be wasted--Bryant, Zastryzny, further development of the young players, and whatever we get at the deadline. Not really wasted.

    Castro in a slump--Yep

    Barney not hitting--This surprises you why?

    Rizzo struggles at times--I like to call the time he struggles "June"

    Samardzija is pitching more like a #4 than a #2 pitcher--If Samardzija is a #4, so is Clayton Kershaw.

    Jackson, Vitters and others on the farm are at a crossroads in this organization -- the crossroads is about 100 points of slugging percentage behind Jackson.

    Soler, Almora and Baez are at least 2 years away -- Maybe, maybe not

    what if they struggle early when called up? -- Ask Al Yellon

    can anyone say this Cubs team will be in he playoffs by 2015? -- Nostradamus

    Garza, Feldman, DeJesus will be gone -- if we're lucky

    who knows what we get in return -- Theo

    next year at this time, will E. Jackson, Russell and Samardzija be trade bait? -- No

    will the Cubs ever find a reliever who can just get outs out in the 9th? -- Meet Kevin Gregg

    Will Theo be able to sign top rank players to play in Chicago instead players coming off of surgery or a bench player trying to revise their career? -- Like Edwin Jackson?

    there are many serious issues on this Cubs team -- Uh-huh

    one also is Dale the manager for this team beyond 2014? -- Unless Joe Girardi is dying for a new a challenge, yes.

    other teams always improve...why can't the Cubs?. -- The rotation is one of the best in baseball and can't find room for a guy pitching lights out in a hitters league in AAA. I'd call that improvement.

    little too late for Soriano to start speaking up about his teammates -- Yes, he should have thrown them under the bus years ago like Sosa.

    if Theo is directing Dale to keep on using Marmol in the 9th, then it has to be for Theo to make sure he has the #1 slot for next years draft. -- He's playing Ian Stewart and Takahashi for the same reason.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Careful Mike, all that logic and reason might fry whatever part of his brain the crack did not. I'd swear he is Phil Rogers in real life.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    He could also be Steve Rosenbloom. We'll know for sure if he ever refers to Ricketts as "Fan Boy."

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Gregg is on his way a good way.......will not be here after July 31st....but Marmol will.....

    Cubs rotation one of the best in baseball! why are the Cubs in last place?

    BTW, the statement you made about the Cubs has one of the best pitching staff in baseball, has to be the dumbest quote of the year....and all your buddies know it...too bad there is no "edit" button on this blog to take that statement back.

    Please do not compare Kershaw to Samardzija.....and that was another dumb have one more strike left......

    too early to grade on the draft picks....need to wait for several years ....hopefully not long as we saw with Jackson & Vitters who look like complete failures.......

    Cubs are far from being a playoff team......there is no chemistry on this team.......maybe Bryant is that player who can come in later on and be a leader........but first, he needs to be signed.....

    Sometimes it is good to throw teammates under the bus.....especially when these same players give up too many 9th inning leads........I do not blame Soriano on his remarks ......and no other fan should either.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Clayton Kershaw: 8.72 K/9, 2.60 BB/9 3.21 xFIP
    Jeff Samardzija: 10.29 K/9, 3.26 BB/9, 3.09 xFIP

    You're right, I can't compare them. Samardzija is pitching better.

    The Cubs starters are essentially in a 3-way tie with Braves and Rays for the 6th best xFIP among starting rotations. They're also 6th -- all by themselves -- in terms of fWAR. I'd say 6th out of 30 is one of the better ones. Just me, though.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    and Kershaw pitches half his games inside pitchers parks like Dodger stadium and ATT field. Shark might pitch in those parks once a year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I absolutely love the fact that a troll can just make the comments better on this site. No one bites; there are only clever and logical responses.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Your analysis is very negative. Let me guess, you want the Hendry approach and throw money at 30+year old players, past their prime. The Cubs win 85-90 games, maybe make the playoffs, but don't show up if they do. I like the current the farm, revamp the stadium and develop the talent on hand or flip it. When the TV contract gets renewed, there will be money to fill holes with young players who still have an upside. The Cubs are competitive now, even with all of holes in the lineup (except when playing top-tier competition), it will improve in '14, and this team should be ready for the Wild-card in '15.

  • In reply to RayA:

    Go ask the Angels how well that approach is working. Pujols and Hamilton are turning in to there Sorianos.

  • Wrap coming in morning.....

  • In reply to felzz:

    Can put the review in three words......."Another Cubs Loss"

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I feel like I eat a turd every time I read one of your comments. The Cubs are 8-22 in their division, and 20-18 otherwise. Things are not as far off as your short site can see. Do me a favor, when the Cubs do get good, find another blog. Nobody here cares what you have to say.

  • Well, yes - we should be rebuilding the farm system (top 5) while winning at the MLB level at the same time. And if not, fire the manager and FO, because everyone knows any of us could be doing just that.


  • I posted this on another board but it seems appropriate here too. Team USA is coming to Des Moines to play Cuba in July:

    Any possibilities some of those top Cuban prospects will be there?

  • In reply to Puma0821:

    Hmm. Sounds interesting. Almost tempting to make another trip out. Not sure who will be there, though.

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