The Atlanta Braves have dipped their toes into the international pool and brought a Cuban player into the fold. No, it's not Lazarito, as the 16-year old still hasn't made his decision yet and probably has bigger things to worry about at the moment. Instead, the Braves have apparently unearthed a bit of an unknown name, as they've signed 28-year old Cuban reliever Carlos Manuel Portuondo for a fee of $990k.
If it seems like we don't have too much information on this guy, that's because, well, there really isn't too much to go by -- if you want a little more information, then check out what the always reliable Ben Badler of Baseball America has to say. Either way, the Braves must've seen something that they liked, because they've decided to bring him in and, according to Mark Bowman, he'll be starting at the AA level with the Mississippi Braves once he gets into the organization.
Portuondo was one of six players who got thrown off of the Cuban National Team for attempting to defect, and apparently that didn't deter him from eventually getting on with a Major League Baseball organization. Also, he hasn't pitched professionally since 2013, and according to this tweet from Grant McAuley, his stats from his time in the Cuban league aren't exactly shiny and sterling.
RHP Carlos Manuel Portuondo, 28, is just 16-26, 5.75 ERA with 188BB/194K in 355.1 IP over parts of 8 seasons for Santiago de Cuba. #Braves— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) February 24, 2016
So, if you're expecting this to be an extremely high profile signing, then you'd be disappointed. However, if you're expecting this to be a signing for organizational depth, then you'll probably be satisfied with what the Braves have done here. They haven't spent too much money to bring Portuondo in, so if he somehow makes it to the big leagues, then this deal will already be worth every penny.
Until then, the obvious hope is that he'll be able to develop and be productive so that he could possibly make it to the bigs in the future.