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Yankees Free Agent Target: Raicel Iglesias

Koji Watanabe

The Yankees need to start playing in the international market and now that Raicel Iglesias has finally defected, it's time to buy into the talent that has been coming in through the Caribbean in the last few years. He was caught the first time he tried to defect after running out of food and water, but he was able to defect on October 9 and is now living in Mexico.

The 23-year-old right-hander will be exempt from international bonus pools because he is over 22 and from Cuba. He only threw 88-92 mph during the World Baseball Classic in March, but he had a 92-95 mph fastball with a 76-81 mph breaking ball during Cuba's US tour.

He has also dealt with control issues, walking 54 and striking out 53 in 76.2 innings during the 2011-2012 season, though he did have a 3.29 ERA, so he was still effective. Ben Badler of Baseball America says he could use time in the minors before he becomes a major league option.

It will take months before Iglesias establishes residency in another country, is declared a free agent in the eyes of MLB and is cleared by OFAC. It's clear that Iglesias won't be a solution for the team's rotation by Opening Day, however, given time, he could prove to be an insurance policy in case Ivan Nova or David Phelps struggles. He's young and should be affordable, so it's a signing the Yankees have to make. If he starts off in Triple-A he won't get in anyone's way, so there's no reason for it not to happen.

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