Report: Nats agree to terms with top Cuban pitcher

CINCINNATI, Oh. --- reports the Nationals have agreed to terms with Cuban right handed pitcher Yunesky Maya.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo would not confirm or deny the report but spoke in general terms about scouting Maya for some time.

“He is a terrific, young and poised major league caliber pitcher. He was the number one pitcher on the Cuban National team, even ahead of Aroldis Chapman. Maya won the Cuban equivalent of the Cy Young award. A lot of teams want him.”

According to the report, the 28-year old drew interest from several teams including the Red Sox and Phillies.

“We think he can pitch very soon in the major leagues and work his way up in the rotation.”

Maya has four pitch mix of fastball (94 MPH), slider, curveball and changeup. “He has great command and is battle tested. He has pitched a lot and knows his craft.”

Rizzo says Maya has pitched in front of 50,000 fans before and is not going to be intimidated pitching in the majors, similar to Nats starter Livan Hernandez. “The reward (if he gets signed) is the Nats get an accomplished major league pitcher.”

Maya has been throwing simulated games in the Dominican, similar to instructional league contests in Florida. He is going through the process of getting his visa and transfer papers to enter the United States.

Rizzo says the team has made great strides with the opening of their new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, and says they signed 32 players alone this year. As of last week, the Nats had reported the signing of 31 players.

“We are happy with where our program is going and its progress.”

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