Breaking: Multiple Contenders Continue To Show Interest In Upside Starter and…….

The Yariel Rodriguez market continues to percolate, with the Astros, Blue Jays, Pirates and Yankees “still vying for” the right-hander’s services, according to reporter Francys Romero (X-link) earlier this week. Romero’s post came before Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s deal with the Dodgers, as Romero suggested that Rodriguez’s suitors were waiting for Yamamoto to sign first.

This would apparently refer specifically to the Yankees and Blue Jays, who were known to be in the running for Yamamoto’s services. Toronto was a little further on the periphery of the hunt, while the Yankees were apparently one of three or four finalists, joining the Mets and Giants in falling behind the Dodgers in the race for the Japanese ace. Presumably neither the Yankees nor Jays would have brought in Rodriguez if they had signed Yamamoto, so having two big spenders still on the market is good news for Rodriguez and his representatives at WME Baseball. It should be noted that Romero did not say that these four teams were finalists for Rodriguez, or that other known candidates were out of the running. The Astros, Jays, Pirates and Yankees were all listed among the ten interested teams in Romero’s initial report on Rodriguez in early November, and that group (which also included the Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Phillies, Rangers and White Sox) has grown eventually becoming the Rays, Red Sox, and Padres in subsequent reports.Rodriguez is something of a wild card on the free agent pitching market, having spent much of his pitching career in Cuba. He worked mostly out of the bullpen with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Chunichi Dragons from 2020 to 2022, and didn’t do that either . he hasn’t pitched at all in 2023 (other than the World Baseball Classic) since he missed the NPB season while trying to free himself from his contract with the Dragons. Rodriguez doesn’t turn 27 until March, though, and there’s enough intrigue in his upside as a starter that MLBTR ranked him 28th on our offseason list of the top 50 free agents and signed him to a four-year, 32-year contract. million dollars expected. .This price would put Rodriguez within reach of teams with even lower salaries, even if those clubs are taking a greater risk with such a financial commitment for an unprecedented Major League pitcher. For the Pirates specifically, $32 million for Rodriguez would be among the eight most expensive contracts in franchise history, so it would seem pretty aggressive for a freshly rebuilt Bucs team to suddenly take on an untested arm. However, the Pirates are known to be looking for more rotation help, and they may be so confident in Rodriguez’s chances that they could view an investment of around $32 million as a potential bargain.International signings have been the backbone of the Astros’ winning streak over the past decade, in the form of cheap contracts for future stars like Jose Altuve or Framber Valdez or a larger investment by Houston in a five-year, $47.5 million contract for Yuli Gurriel when he joined the Cuban major leagues in the 2016 season. Current Astros general manager Dana Brown, of course, had no changes at within the front office in 2016, although he hinted that his team wanted to add “a legitimate third starter or better” this offseason, acknowledging that the Astros were with him. somewhat limited amount of output space. Roster Resource projects that Houston’s 2024 payroll will almost exactly hit the luxury tax threshold of $237 million, which is notable since the Astros have only exceeded the tax threshold once in their history (in 2020 ).Signing Rodriguez would be an interesting backup position for Yamamoto in New York or Toronto. Rodriguez’s lack of track record wouldn’t necessarily strengthen a rotation that already has some injury-related question marks in Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon, as well as the unproven Clarke Schmidt as the projected fourth starter. However, the Yankees could see Rodriguez as an upward move as a de facto fifth starter, or perhaps even as an addition to the bullpen if he doesn’t work out as a starter.The same could be said for Rodriguez’s potential use on the Blue Jays’ staff, although Toronto’s rotation is a little clearer. Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi are the first four, with Alek Manoah the fifth starter for now, despite all the uncertainty in the wake of Manoah’s tough 2023 season. Adding Rodriguez would give the Blue Jays more depth if If Manoah can’t recover, or perhaps the Jays would feel more emboldened to trade Manoah or even Kikuchi to fill other needs in the lineup.

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