Last October, center fielder Daniel Carbonell Arredondo and infielder Orlando Perez Darias defected from Cuba. As far as I can tell, their defection has yet to be reported in the American press. Carbonell played for Camaguey in the Cuban National Series from the 2009-10 season through '12-13. He was suspended last August prior to his successful defection. Carbonell is currently residing in Mexico has scheduled a workout with fifteen clubs next month. The Yankees and Blue Jays have already expressed interest.
Perez was a reserve infielder for Industriales in '11-12, but failed to accumulate any statistics.
Racing Against the Clock
In order to sign with an MLB team as a free agent, Cuban defectors must first establish residency in a foreign country and then gain clearance from the US Treasury department. If Carbonell doesn't complete this process by July 2nd, he will no longer be considered a professional by Major League Baseball.
For the last two years, Cuban defectors have been considered professionals and eligible for free agency as long as they were 23 years old and had played in Cuba's Serie Nacional for at least three seasons. Starting in July 2014, in yet another bit of CBA capriciousness, players need to have played at least five seasons in order to qualify. Carbonell, even though he started in the Series at 18 years old, will no longer fit the bill.
In all signing periods following the 2013- 2014 signing period, Cuban players only will be exempt if they are 23 years of age and have played as a professional in a Cuban professional league for a minimum of five seasons.
If not approved before July 2nd, his signing bonus will count against a team's allotted bonus pool in the 2014-2015 international free agency signing period, limiting the amount that teams may be willing to spend. Approval times vary. Yasiel Puig managed it in just a few months after his defection, but it can take considerably longer, particularly if there are any complications with paperwork.
Daniel Carbonell Stats
Carbonell is an athletic center-fielder whose calling card is his speed.
He is very fast, much faster than Yasiel Puig.
His success rate on stolen bases is much higher than league average, but he didn't run as much as one might expect, with only 34 attempts during his time in Cuba. On the whole, his numbers are less impressive than some previous defectors, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Due to the length of the Cuban season, and Carbonell's relative youth in starting there we have a limited sample to work with, about one full season's worth of plate appearances at the MLB level.
- Cuba's season starts shortly after the MLB season ends and runs through May. What I list as the 2012 season started in November of 2011 and ran through May of 2012. I've chosen to use MLB's age conventions; so while Carbonell is listed as 22 for 2012, he was actually only 21 until nearly the end of that season.
- In 2012, in an attempt to reduce offensive levels, Cuba raised the pitcher's mound and shifted to a less-lively baseball. The bulk of his numbers in Cuba came in this environment.
Given his age and athleticism, I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs take a chance.
For more cuban defector profiles, go here. I'll have more on Carbonell and comparisons to other recent defectors in the coming weeks.