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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

MLB: which Latinos are still without a team?


Spring training days are back and many free agents have signed new agreements, however, a considerable number of players with experience in the Major Leagues still remain on the list of unemployed, including some Latin Americans who played important roles in recent times. Venezuela and Cuba are two of the countries with “left-out” representatives for the coming season.

Since the opening of practice camps in Arizona and Florida, some important players have signed new contracts such as outfielders J.D. Martinez (Boston Red Sox), Carlos Gomez (Tampa Bay Rays), Jarrod Dyson (Arizona Diamondbacks), Colby Rasmus (Baltimore Orioles) and Cameron Maybin (Miami Marlins); starter Eric Hosmer (Padres de San Diego), second baseman Chase Utley (Los Angeles Dodgers) and utility Eduardo Núñez (Red Sox). Pitchers Jaime Garcia (Toronto Blue Jays), Edinson Volquez (Texas Rangers), Joaquin Benoit (Washington Nationals), Aníbal Sánchez (Minnesota Twins), Carlos Torres (Cleveland Indians), Chris Tillman (Orioles) and Tony Watson (Giants of San Francisco), among others, have also found spots according to ESPN. Hoever, when clubs start playing their first games of the spring season, a good group of players will still be in the market, waiting for the most suitable offer. In some cases, for any offer. Some of the best Latin Americans will still be available.

Take the case of Carlos Gonzalez, for instance. It's simply amazing that a four-time All-Star with three Golden Gloves and averaging 29 homers and 96 RBIs for every 162 games during his career does not have a line of teams looking for his services. The 32-year-old Venezuelan is one of the victims of the cruelest winter in the recent history of free agency. Unfortunately, Gonzalez had the second worst performance of his life in the last year of his contract with the Colorado Rockies, when he hit .262 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs in 534 plate appearances. In 10 years in the Major Leagues, "Car-Go" has worn the Rockies uniform in all of his 1,200 games, except in 85. Baltimore remains one of the potential destinations of the player. But Toronto, Texas, Minnesota and even Cleveland could make good use of a special player like him. Another special athlete is Melky Cabrera. The 33 years old has been a solid player for most of his 13 seasons in the major leagues. Last year he hit .285 with 17 homers and 30 doubles with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals. Cabrera seems an option for Colorado, Baltimore and even the Royals themselves, who lost Lorenzo Cain in free agency.

It would also be logical to highlight the case of Cuban Yunel Escobar. With the MLB going crazy for the #ColadaPower, the 35-year-old Cuban has shown that he can be a solid player in the major leagues, especially when he is in a good mood. Escobar hit .282 in 11 seasons and can play several positions in the inner box. He could be the answer for a team that is looking for a strong hold at third base and does not want to pay a lot of money. These are only three names of the most relevant Latinos still left out. What are yours?