When the Chicago Cubs announced the signing of Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion to a five year deal, the team was hopeful that Concepcion would be the first of a pair of international signings. While the Cubs lost out on Yoenis Cespedes, the team still had hopes of signing Concepcion and fellow Cuban defector outfielder Jorge Soler.
Soler has yet to be officially recognized as a Major League Baseball free agent, until then, the Cubs can have no contact with the outfielder. Though, most reports suggest that the Cubs and Soler already have an agreement in place on a contract of four years, worth $27 million. Meanwhile, Concepcion is going on his third month of being a part of the Cubs’ organization. After spending the last month of Spring Training with the Cubs in March and taking part in extended Spring Training in Arizona, Concepcion is ready to make his debut as a professional baseball player.
The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Concepcion has been added to the Peoria Chiefs roster. The Chiefs are the Cubs low-A affiliate. Concepcion is scheduled to make his first of the season, and his professional debut with the Chiefs on Wednesday.
The 20 year old left handed starting pitcher is still about 3 seasons away from being ready to pitch on the Major League level. For those of you that may be upset that over half the time on Concepcion’s contract will be spent on the prospect pitching in the Minor League system, don’t be. Unlike what Cespedes was willing to do, Concepcion agreed to complete the arbitration process. Meaning, Concepcion has spend at least six seasons with the Major League team before he eligible to become a free agent. The way the it works would be that Concepcion could spend all five seasons in the Cubs’ Minor League system, and then appear with the Major League team at the end of the fifth season. The Cubs would still have six more seasons of control over Cespedes. Meaning the Cubs have the potential to have 11 years of control over Concepcion.
As for how Concepcion projects on a Major League roster, the reports vary. Some have suggested that Concepcion will be bottom-end starting pitcher while others have projected Concepcion as potentially being a top-end starting pitcher. Concepcion earned rookie of the year honors in the Cuban National Series in 2011.