Yankees among 4 teams in bidding war for star Cuban pitcher

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees Workouts
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the offseason, you win some, and you lose some. For the New York Yankees, they won big with their trade for Juan Soto but lost in their bid for Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They’re now looking for another victory in acquiring top Cuban pitcher Yariel Rodriguez.

Yankees Have Another War on Their Hands For Foreign Free Agent Talent

MLB writer Francys Romero took to Twitter to announce that the Yankees have company the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates, who are all in the hunt to land the righty free agent.

In eight seasons as a pro, Rodriguez owns a 3.06 ERA alongside 645 strikeouts. Rodriguez has taken the mound in the Cuban National Series and, most recently, Japan’s NPB league for the Chunichi Dragons. The 26-year-old has faced top international hitters and has made himself ready to show his stuff in the majors.

Rodriguez was declared a free agent by the Commissioner’s office back on Nov. 3 and was worked out by the Boston Red Sox shortly after.

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Rodriguez Checks Many of the Boxes That the Yankees Need in Their Pitching Unit

He’s been scouted by several franchises, and ESPN’s Jeff Passan summed up the report that came back on him, saying:

“Evaluators who have seen him throw since Chunichi released him from his contract say the 6-foot-1, 164-pound Rodriguez has an imposing presence,” Passan detailed. “His fastball sits around 96 mph and touches 99, and his spin, which nears 2,600 rpms, would place him above the 95th percentile in all of baseball.”

Rodriguez would make only the seventh pitcher in the MLB to have a single pitch touch 99mph or faster. He possesses the raw talent and velocity to be a nice support in the Yankees’ rotation.

The Yankees are looking for a re-emergence from their pitching staff in 2024. Health will play a major factor in that being actualized, as will competent free-agent additions the likes of Rodriguez. Financially, the Yankees won’t have to break the bank, with speculation that Rodriguez is targeting an $8 million annual salary.