An early offseason outlook for the Phillies

Though this year will likely be painful to watch for Phillies fans, it will be interesting to see how the club tries to develop its talent.

One interesting player to watch may be Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Cuban defector whose ascent to the majors was delayed multiple times by shoulder concerns. Though the question of whether he can last a full season in the majors remains to be answered, the Phillies made an interesting move on the depth chart — Gonzalez is no longer listed in the bullpen, but rather as the fifth starter.

With A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick departing, Gonzalez will get another shot at a starting role this year.

Though no move is impending and the team needs a good return, Cole Hamels is on the trade block, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a team needing an ace ponied up the prospects to acquire him.

All that uncertainty means the Phillies will be looking to cobble together a rotation. If Cliff Lee is healthy, he’s the No. 1 or 2, depending on if Hamels is still around. Jerome Williams is a back-end option with a one year deal in place. David Buchanan seems likely to start the year somewhere in the middle of the rotation.

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Cuban Crossovers: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

This week I’m writing a series on a number of high-profile Cuban players who defected to the MLB, focusing primarily on expectation and payoff, to varying degrees. There is sometimes a tendency to over-hype international players, especially when the comparison is made based on Cuba’s somewhat spotty statistics, but the scouting has been generally solid, and a number of recent signings have worked out for Major League clubs.
Yesterday’s subject, which you can read here, was phenom Yasiel Puig. Monday’s was Jose Abreu.
Today I turn to a man who remains a big question mark: Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was more touted than Abreu and Puig, and perhaps about as much as Yoenis Cespedes. He defected from Cuba in 2013 after an unsuccessful attempt in 2012 that left him out of competitive play following the 2011 season.

Last July, reports surfaced saying the Phillies had signed him to a six-year, $60 million deal. It was never confirmed by the organization, and later the terms were released at a much lower 3 years and $12 million. The reason? Concerns over his elbow:

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