Well it's no Jason Heyward, but the Mariners have added a little depth on Monday by signing Cuban defector Misael Sivero to a minor league contract, marking the first step in what should be an interesting transition year for an organization left looking at a few vacated minor league starting roles after a surprising 2014 season.
According to Ryan Divish over at the Seattle Times, the 25 year-old left hander will be skipping spring training next year in favor of an invitation to February's minor league mini-camp. He comes to the Mariners from Cuba carrying a solid four-pitch lefty arsenal including, supposedly, a nasty curveball. Sound familiar?
Now, Sivero's similarities with Elias probably end there--he apparently tops out in the high-eighties, is only 5'9", and started his career in the bullpen. A detailed scouting report can be found here, and you should definitely check out what Amazin' Avenue had to say about him when he became a free agent last July. Apparently, he defected during a state-approved exhibition series with the Cuban team in Iowa last year, which should illustrate just how varied the experiences of these players can be. Here's AA's Steve Sypa:
Only hours after arriving in Iowa, the left-hander left the hotel he and his team were staying at in Des Moines and defected. How exactly he left—Cuba generally doesn't exactly allow its nationals free reign when traveling abroad—is unclear, but it is not without precedent. Aroldis Chapman did just that, when he defected from Cuba in the Netherlands in 2009. The All-Star closer told teammates and coaches that he was going outside to smoke, got into a car waiting outside, and that was that.
The whole incident pissed off the Cuban manager, who immediately shrugged him off as "not that great of a pitcher," suggesting he may top out at AAA rather than reach the bigs.
It remains to be seen if it was a political jab from a manager who would have to explain missing talent upon returning home, or an honest take. Either way, don't forget that you and everyone else were asking who the hell Roenis Elias was last spring. Siverio may top out as an org guy, but just about anything is possible.