According to a report from Phil Rogers, the Cubs signed right-handed Cuban pitcher Armando Rivero to a minor league contract. The signing was apparently finalized a couple of months back after the Cubs won his rights in a lower-level bidding war against a few other teams. The signing bonus is unknown at this point.
Armando Rivero was a closer for the Industriales in Havana and a teammate of Gerardo Concepcion. According to Rogers, the Cubs consider Rivero as an advanced prospect and a pitcher that could contribute at the big league level in 2014, if not late this season.
Rivero has reported to Fitch Park and is working out with the other minor league pitchers and catchers.
Updated 10:50pm CST – According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have not finalized a contract with Armando Rivero.
Due to his age and experience in Cuba, Armando Rivero does not count against the Cubs’ International signing pool.
Phil Rogers reported the Cubs may use him as a starter this season but they feel he profiles as a middle reliever. Baseball America reported scouts do not want to limit him to the bullpen just because he was a reliever in Cuba. Many scouts feel he will end up as a middle reliever but he has the stuff to be a closer.
According to reports from last January, Armando Rivero has a plus-fastball with action and sits in the mid to upper 90s, topping out between 96-98 mph. Rivero throws a two-seam fastball with late drop. The 24-year old, 6-foot-3, right hander also throws a slider or a curve and a splitter, depending on the report.
Baseball America reported “his mechanics have some funkiness in the back with a slight hook, but some scouts say the ball comes out cleanly in the front from a three-quarters arm slot.”
Armando Rivero is represented by the same agency as Jorge Soler.