Cuba Rookie Gets $7 Million from Cubs

By Circles Robinson

Gerardo Concepcion (c) en su uniforme de Industriales. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 3 — Gerardo Concepcion, the rookie of the year pitcher for Industriales in the Cuban Baseball League during the 2010-2011 season, is now a multi-millionaire about to begin his career with the Chicago Cubs.

The 19-year-old lefthander signed a multi-year contract on Thursday reported to be worth US $7 million as the Cubs take a gamble on his potential after a 10-3 season with a 3.36 ERA in the Cuban league, reported Fox News Latino on Friday.

Thus far in his brief career he has a 90+ MPH fastball, a curve ball and a changeup.

Concepcion abandoned the Cuban national team at an international event in Holland in June 2011.  He first settled in Mexico and just recently was declared a free agent earlier this month and has been working out in the Dominican Republic.

Cuba has lost a string of its top players and prospects to the Major Leagues in recent years.  The players are then considered traitors by the Cuban officialdom and the local media is forbidden from mentioning their names ever again.

The next Cuban player expected to sign a MLB contract is outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, 26, who played several seasons for Granma in the Cuban League including a league leading 33 homers last season tied with Jose Dariel Abreu (who won the crown because of less at-bats).

Reportedly interested in landing Cespedes are the Flordia Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, and Detroit Tigers.

The hard-hitting, swift and good fielding Cespedes is expected to receive as much or more as Aroldis Chapman, the lefty from Holguin, that was signed for US $30 million two years ago by the Cincinnati Reds.