The First Noel - Arguelles Agrees to Deal

On Saturday night, very surprising news broke that the Royals had reached an agreement with 19 year old LHP-Noel Arguelles.  The young Cuban reportedly agreed to a 5 year $7 million major league contract with the chance to increase that amount another $2 million by way of incentives.  

The deal is pending Arguelles passing his physical and according to Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan, Noel is expected to be in Kansas City this week.

Passan wrote this about the Royals’ newest pitching prospect:

Arguelles’ talent is unquestioned. While his fastball during workouts wasn’t at the 94 mph it reached during his national team days, his changeup remains a potential out pitch and his curveball projects above average as well. Control is Arguelles’ biggest pitfall.

Scouts who saw his workout believe Arguelles will start the season at Class A. Because he is on a major-league deal, like Crow, his timetable could be accelerated once he acclimates to American baseball.

Baseball America’s John Manuel, posted this last night:

Arguelles pitched for the Cuban junior national team (not the World Baseball Classic or Olympic bunch, but the top group of 18-and-under players) and defected while at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada, in July 2008. One scouting report this fall of an Arguelles workout, however, had him heavier and with diminished velocity, topping out at 89 mph in one session.

Dick Kaegel posted this on MLB.com last night:

It could take weeks before any deal is finalized because Arguelles would have to receive the necessary travel documentation, a work permit and a physical examination in the United States. With several hurdles to be cleared, there seems to be little hope for a quick resolution, at least before the Winter Meetings end on Thursday.

Arguelles becomes the 3rd big name international FA to be signed by the team during this calendar year.  Back in February they gave 17 year-old Korean C-Jin-Ho Shin $600,000 and followed that up by giving 16 year old Nicaraguan 3B-Cheslor Cuthbert, a near $1.5 million signing bonus.

There is no doubt that Dayton Moore has this team awake, active, and aggressive internationally.  Coupled with his aggressive top-talent drafting the last several years, it is clear that the foundation of the Royals organization is repaired and once again on rock solid ground.  There is plenty of work to be done above Double-A, but even some of the minor league deals (Thompson, Bullington, and Campillo) this offseason appear to be very shrewd depth building moves.

David and Dan Glass also deserve some credit for allowing Moore to spend almost $10 million on these 3 players after spending almost $20 million in the 2008 and 2009 drafts.  The Arguelles signing is also significant because it is the first major move* the team has made after the 2009 season ended in disappointment.  Despite the 2009 let down, the team is still clearly committed to investing in young talent that is several years away instead of switching to the attitude of “patching holes in a dam with bubble gum approach” that marred Allard Baird’s tenure as Royals GM.

*I don’t consider trading Mark Teahen a major move.

Whether or not Arguelles ever takes the mound at Kauffman Stadium, this was a huge move by the organization and one that I support 100%.  The team will need to make a move to make room for Noel on the 40-man roster, but there are plenty of options along those lines.

Speaking of building up the talent level of the farm system:

Project Prospect published their Top 15 Catching Prospects on December 1st.  This prospect list is noteworthy, because the Royals’ own Wil Myers is number 6 on the list.  He is also the only player under the age of 20 to make it.

By now you are all aware, I am a huge fan and believer in Phillies OF prospect, Domonic Brown.  John Klima over at Baseball Beginnings made my Saturday when he posted a Pro-Sided Scouting Report on Brown.  The Royals need a true cornerstone outfielder and I think that Domonic should be their primary goal along those lines.  Unfortunately, the Phillies probably aren’t going to let him go and the Royals probably aren’t willing to put together a package that would get it done.  Yesterday Klima also posted a report on Cubs SS prospect, Starlin Castro.

Baseball Beginnings also continues to crank out video and scouting reports on future MLB draft picks.  I have been bad about getting links out on this stuff the last several weeks, but I love this stuff so I wanted to pass these links along.

(Wally Fish is Kings of Kauffman’s lead blogger.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Cheslor Cuthbert Jin-Ho Shin Kansas City Royals KC MLB Noel Arguelles Royals

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