By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 8 – While the bidding war continues to try and sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman, a lesser known exile, Noel Arguelles, also a southpaw, has signed a five year major league contract with the Kansas City Royals for US $7 million, plus $2 million in further incentives.
Arguelles was the star left handed pitcher on Cuba’s 2007 18-and-under team. He reportedly has a 94 MPH fastball as well as a curveball and good change-up.
Like Chapman, Arguelles -who turns 20 next week- will need to improve on his control to reach potential in the highly demanding US Major Leagues.
Arguelles is expected to begin the 2010 baseball season in the Class A minor leagues.
He abandoned his Cuban team to pursue a professional career after winning the gold medal game at the July 2008 Junior World Championships in Canada.
Meanwhile the bidding war for Chapman, 21 and known for his up-to-102 MPH fastball, continues with several MLB teams still in the race including the Los Angeles Angels, who have budding star Kendry Morales of Cuba and a friend of Chapman on first base.
The Cuban press does not report on the island’s nationals who abandon their country’s amateur teams to play professional sports in foreign countries.