Jays, Cuban pitcher Rodriguez in agreement on deal
The Toronto Blue Jays and Cuban free agent pitcher Yariel Rodriguez are in agreement on a contract, according to TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell.
Mitchell adds the deal is pending a physical and hurdles remain in his immigration.
Can confirm @Ken_Rosenthal report that #BlueJays and Cuban righty Yariel Rodriguez are in agreement, paperwork and physical pending.— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) January 17, 2024
They offered him an opportunity to start. It seems not every club was interested in that and viewed him as RP.
Mitchell also reports the Blue Jays offered Rodriguez an opportunity to start, and it seems not every clubw as interested in that, instead viewing him as a reliever.
Rodriguez, 26, pitched 56 games with Japan's Chunichi Dragons in 2022 and was lights out, recording a 1.15 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 54.2 innings out of the bullpen. He also pitched for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic, appearing in two games and turning in a 2.45 ERA in 7.2 innings.
Rodriguez pitched professionally in Cuba from 2015 to 2019 and joined the Dragons for the 2020 season. He did not report back to the club for 2023, instead holding showcases in the Dominican Republic for interested MLB clubs.
Rosenthal notes Rodriguez would likely fit with the Jays as a depth starter, who could also transition back to the bullpen.
Rodriguez carries a 3.30 ERA in six seasons in the Cuban National Series and a 3.03 ERA in three years in Japan's NPB.