The Nationals have not traditionally been big on signing international prospects, but that has apparently changed, as general manager Mike Rizzo has reportedly signed 28-year old Cuban pitcher Yuneski Maya, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
The team will reportedly make his signing official once he completes his physical and obtains his work visa. ESPN Deportes was the first to report the news.
Rizzo, for his part, neither confirmed nor denied the news to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. However, he did have some good things to say about Maya's game.
"He is battle-tested and is seasoned," Rizzo said. "We have seen him play in many tournaments over the years, so we feel we know him as well as anybody. He is a guy who has pitched a lot and knows his craft.
"If we get him, we have to see where he is at. We have seen him pitch quite a bit in the Dominican. We had guys monitoring [him] quite closely. It will be like any new pitcher we acquire. He goes to [the team's Spring Training complex in] Viera, Fla., and we see where he is at."
The Yankees, Phillies, Mets and Red Sox were all reportedly interested in Maya, so this represents a major coup for the Nationals' international scouting department.
Here's some video of Maya in the 2009 World Baseball Classic against Ichiro.
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