Los Angeles Angels: Roberto Baldoquin, the $14M mistake

In 2015, the Los Angeles Angels made a big investment in a shortstop from Cuba named Roberto Baldoquin and that mistake was put to rest yesterday when the halos released him.

The Los Angeles Angels signed the 20-year-old Roberto Baldoquin for $8M in 2015 and with penalties and all ended up spending $14M in total on the infielder. A mistake that might have cost then-GM Jerry Dipoto his job, Dipoto resigned later that year.

To the surprise of many who know the Cuban game, this middling young infielder got a large sum of money. There is a running joke in Cuba that says Baldoquin might have smuggled more Cubans out of Cuba than any smuggler, because when the other players saw the sum that the shortstop was paid they all started to head for the exits.

The team finally pulled the plug on the Baldoquin experiment yesterday seeing that the soon to be 26 years old has never made it past AA. What was to be the team’s shortstop of the future has become a monumental bust.

This signing was such a giant gaffe that it barred the team from spending more than 300 K in international free agency for the next two seasons and missing out on studs like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Fernando Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto.

Baldoquin who’s glove was Major League ready at the time of his signing was supposed to receive a little seasoning in the minors and be ready to take reins in 2016. Boy were the Los Angeles Angels wrong ,so wrong that they were forced to trade for Andrelton Simmons prior to the 2016 season to fill their gaping hole at short.

While Simmons thrived in the Majors, Baldoquin continued to languish in the minors to the dismay of the team. Everything culminated in a highly disappointing season last year at Mobile (AA) where the prospect hit .232 and struck out 70 times in 80 games.

In total during his career in the minors which spanned five-season and 1,402 at-bats, he posted a line of .241/.295/.317/.612. The once-promising prospect also only slugged nine home runs.

After 2020 the team’s options are limited at shortstop, especially with Simmons’ impending free agency. Utilitymen Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher will more than likely be stopgap for the team while the team waits for the heir apparent Arol Vera to mature into the position.

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At nearly 26 years of age Baldoquin’s dream of making the big leagues seems to be all but over, especially with MLB looking to eliminate 42 minor league affiliates and roughly 1,000 minor league jobs.