Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo González has died in a car accident in Cuba, the team confirmed Friday. He was 34.
The Cuban native was thought to be a prized pickup in 2013 after defecting. Scouts fell in love with the 29-year-old, and he was believed to be the next great talent to come to the majors from Cuba.
Bidding on González skyrocketed, and the Phillies were able to secure him on a six-year, $48 million deal. His contract also included an $11 million option for the seventh season. At the time, it was among one of the bigger deals to be handed out to an international free-agent. González was expected to be at least a back-end starter, with the possibility of having mid-rotation upside.
Shortly after agreeing to the deal, however, it was discovered that González was dealing with arm trouble. He would eventually come to an agreement with the Phillies, but at a much lower cost. He wound up signing a three-year, $12 million deal with the club a month after his initial contract was rumored to reach around $60 million.
Those arm concerns wound up being significant. González performed admirably in 2014, posting a 3.13 ERA along multiple levels as a reliever. He made his major-league debut that September, posting a 6.75 ERA over six appearances.
After an injury-riddled season in the minors in 2015, the Phillies released González prior to the start of the 2016 regular season. He went unclaimed on waivers and did not hook on with another club.
González’s major-league career didn’t turn out as expected, but he was considered a significant addition when he was first available. He was also the first Cuban player signed by the Phillies.
The Phillies organization has already been in mourning this November after former pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash earlier in the month.
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