Yariel Rodriguez held a workout for Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday afternoon in the Dominican Republic. The Cincinnati Reds were one of the teams in attendance according to Francys Romero for MLB.com.

Rodriguez had pitched professionally in Cuba from 2015 through 2020 before heading to Japan where he pitched in 2020 through 2022. He did not pitch in the 2023 season, choosing to prepare to make a run at the big leagues. He did, however, pitch for the Cuban National team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

This spring with the Cuban National team he made two starts, throwing 7.1 total innings and allowed two runs. Control wasn’t great as he hit two batters and walked six others. Rodriguez did strike out 10.

We did get to see pitch data from both starts. His fastball averaged 94.9 MPH, while his slider came in at 83.7 and in the WBC had very high spin rates, and his splitter came in at 88.9 MPH. Small sample sizes apply to both of those, but it does give a general baseline.

On Wednesday morning, Francys Romero shared video from the workout and provided some data on his pitch metrics.

During the workout, Rodriguez threw five different pitches. The high spin rates on the fastball, slider, and curveball certainly are going to turn some analytic heads.

In both 2020 and 2021 Yariel Rodriguez was a starting pitcher for Chunichi. He threw 120.2 innings in 23 games over those two seasons with a 3.88 ERA, 59 walks, and 128 strikeouts. But in the 2022 season he transitioned to the bullpen and posted a 1.15 ERA in 56 games where he threw 54.2 innings. He allowed just 32 hits, no home runs, walked 18 batters (2 were intentional), and he picked up 60 strikeouts. You can see all of his stats from both Cuba and Japan here.

Cincinnati could use some pitching. Whether that’s another starter for added depth or whether it’s another reliever – they need it. A pitcher like Rodriguez could provide an early season option for either role. That could provide some added depth in the first half in the case of an injury in the early part of the season while still working out of the bullpen.

And as we discussed the other day here at Redleg Nation, they should have plenty of money to spend on just about anything they would like. We’ll all have to wait and see what teams saw at the workout and what he will eventually sign for, but Romero reported on October 5th that several scouts he spoke with said they expect he could get a 5-year deal worth $50-70M. That same report, however, noted that Rodriguez may not be eligible to sign for several months.

51 Responses

  1. CI3J

    Hmmm… 26 years old, a 3.88 ERA is Japan, control issues, and no guarantee his stuff will translate to MLB?

    For that, you’d give 5 years, 50m-70m?

    Sorry, I don’t think the Reds should be taking risks like that.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Maybe you missed where he had a 1.15 ERA as a reliever in 2022 without control issues.

      While I wouldn’t offer him 10 million a year unless he wanted to sign a one year contract you did ignore his best year and his most recent year that also came in a different role than the one you didn’t seem to like the results from.

      In todays age with all of the data available teams know pretty well how the stuff will translate. They still miss on the executing of it though. You need more than just stuff. You have to be able to throw strikes with it often enough to make it work.

      He may not be the guy the team should get. But he is the type of guy they should. Someone who has starters experience who can fall back into a reliever role. Or they should just bring back Sonny Gray to be their ace until or if someone outpitches him.

      • TR

        Offseason possibilities: Sonny Gray as needed veteran starter and Aroldis Chapman as co-closer.

      • RedBB

        That’s still a lot for an unproven reliever. I seriously doubt he gets that type of money.

      • CI3J

        That’s a 1.15 ERA in Japan. Curious that you ignored that part.

        Still, sure, I might give him a shot at a lower price point as a reliever. Even then that would still be a big risk since his stuff is untested in MLB.

        But as a starter for $10m+ per year? Absolutely not.

        Overall, I don’t think the Reds should be looking at him. As a reliever, the best I’d offer him is $18m, 3 years. That’s likely not going to get it done, so best just forget about it now.

      • CI3J

        More to the point, if the Reds are looking to compete in 2024, they would be better served to focus on established MLB talent instead of lottery tickets like Rodriguez.

        His career BB9 is 4.4. That’s absolutely terrible. The Reds already have enough relievers who love issuing walks. And again, this was not against MLB hitters. What do you think the best hitters in the world would do against him?

      • RedBB

        Plus 54.2 innings is still a tiny sample size and likely subject to regression to the mean. Just look at former Red Cionel Perez who had a 1.40 ERA in 57.2 IP 2 years ago only to regress hard to 3.54 this past year.

      • DataDumpster

        In the long run this doesn’t mean much but if you watched the playoff games yesterday on Fox, you would see that both Gray and Chapman bombed big time. It was nice to see them pitch but they both looked much older and shakier than I remembered. Sonny allowed 4 runs and 8 hits over 4 innings while Aroldis loaded the bases before being removed after only retiring 2 batters. They are getting up there in age you know.

      • Doug Gray

        Sonny Gray finished third in ERA this year in all of baseball. And he threw 184 innings. Count me on board with signing him (to a certain extent – I don’t want to sign him for $150M).

    • Eddiek957

      I thought the same thing. I’d rather see them sign a nice lefty reliever and a dependable inning eater short time contacts

  2. Klugo

    How much would it cost the Reds to sign Gray,Miley,Hicks and Hader (or the likes of)? IMO, that immediately puts us into serious contention and shouldnt cost all that much.

    • RedBB

      Gray is pro something like $60-$70M over 3 years or something like that. He has mentioned potentially retiring so it may even be shorter contract with options.

      Hicks I am guessing $4-5M a year for 3-4 years. I don’t think teams will overpay for him as the results have simply not been there despite his 100+MPH FB.

      Hader will be way to expensive for us. He will want Edwin Diaz money so like 5+ years at $20M a year

      • JayTheRed

        Could you imagine our bullpen if somehow we got Hader and Chapman both.

        Also, Yes Chapman is older now and not the dominating pitcher he once was but over the season he has been pretty decent still.

  3. Jimbo44CN

    Hader is a self centered dolt. No thanks. Sonny yes, Miley no.

    • West Larry

      I’ll take the three former reds pitchers- Gray, Chapman and Miley. I would like Hicks as well. at what price? Gray is near the top of the free agent starters. 33 mil for three years or maybe 44 million for four years? Chapman 5 or 6 million a year for two or three years? And Miley for 8 million for one year?


      • West Larry

        Chapman would be a co closer, Hicks a set up guy, and Miley a innings eater.

      • MK

        Chapman’s closing days are probably over, more of a setup guy now.

        I wouldn’t mind seeing them signing Amir Garrett to a minor league deal to see if he might transition to a starting pitcher.

      • mac624

        I think fans are setting themselves up for disappointment demanding round 2 of guys that have played in Cincinnati before for extended periods of time. Resigning guys that once played for a franchise does happen on occasion, but there are reasons they are former players. While I would have no idea of the interest in reunification on both sides (team or player), I will be pretty surprised if the Reds sign all 3 former players that you suggested this off season. Perhaps 1, but more than likely none. But I don’t disagree with the premise that a solid starter like Sonny Gray and a solid BP piece, like Chapman, are absolutely needed this offseason. Just not convinced it will be former Reds.

    • RedBB

      I’d take Hader in a heartbeat. He’s still arguably the best closer in baseball dolt or not.

      • VaRedsFan

        He refused to go into a game in the 8th inning when the Padres were charging and still had a chance. Non-save situation.

        NO on Hader

    • JayTheRed

      Even though overall Miley had a nice season with the Brewers, except when he was on the IL. I Don’t know that I take him back. There are plenty of better options for starting pitchers that could give similar results or better next season.

      • VaRedsFan

        Miley has been hurt most of the 2 seasons since he left.
        Do people just throw out names without thinking?
        157 innings total in the last 2 seasons.
        Didn’t they have enough hurt pitchers this year??

  4. MBS

    Really nice ERA as a reliever, but he was not used as a closer. 5Y@$70M is nearly Hader money. I’d probably pass on him unless he signs in the $10M a year range, and 2 -3 year range.

  5. LDS

    Perfect Reds profile, high career walks, only topped 100 IP once in his career. Certainly, his stats don’t look like a $10M/year player. Maybe he scouts as such but for $50-70M, I think the Reds could do better. This feels like another of the “no one else wants him so we can get him cheap” plays.

    • Jim Walker

      Don’t forget “very high spin rate”, Derek Johnson is a bottom feeding carp for them. 😉

      • LDS

        Good point. I wonder if DJ has an interest in an orthopedic clinic that specializes in TJ surgeries.

      • Jim Walker

        At Vanderbilt, DJ only had to worry about getting and keeping them spun up for 2-3 years then placing high in the draft to enhance his reputation/ recruiting efforts. Maybe some of what we see ongoing with the Reds pitching is symptomatic of that.

      • Melvin

        Are you possibly saying high spin rate = more arm injuries and walks? 😉

  6. Randy in Chatt

    It should be well established at this point that the Reds absolutely need a co-closer at this point as Diaz cannot go every night and seems to tire easily. Bringing back Chapman would be awesome. The question would be if Big Bob and little Phil bring back a player that they traded peanuts for after he “embarrassed” the organization with his DV incident. He seems to have turned that around since he left the Reds but will that matter to the Castellinis? Chappy stated that he wants to come back, but would they even be interested in that?

    • RedBB

      No thanks to Chapman the wife beater.

      • JayTheRed

        Seriously RedBB, He was proven innocent.

      • RedBB

        @JayTheRed He wasn’t proven innocent of anything he was never charged which doesn’t mean he didn’t actually do it. He did however fire several shots in his home which was documented. That’s not the action of a sane individua nor someone l I want on this team. Same reason why I hated when the Reds signed Pham. Serious lack of judgment

      • Melvin

        is there any record of him not behaving himself since then? Seems like if there was he’d be out of baseball. How many years ago was that?

  7. Optimist

    Unproven MLB arm – >5m/yr. Proven MLB reliever 5-20m/yr.. Proven MLB starter 15/30m/yr. but no more than a 3 year deal.

    May also be worthwhile to see if they can buy out some first years of free-agency among the existing group.

  8. Jim Walker

    Access to Cuban guys has become more direct and intrigue about them lower. I’m not sure what it is that sets Rodriguez apart from other bullpen and fringe starter candidates who will be available.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    If he will cost $50MM- $70MM for 5 years , I don’t like it. Maybe having a $2MM 1 year deal with an 2nd year $4 MM team option with $800M buy out. No MLB experience at all, fastball at 94.9 MPH ummm , no, no.. I’d rather to choose a free agent in the offseason actually…

  10. Votto4life

    If this is the type of player the Reds are targeting, it’s going to be more of the same. The one saving grace, is it is expected he will get a five year deal. That is not happening with the Reds.

  11. Doug Gray

    Updated with video and data from yesterday’s workout for teams

  12. rednat

    i agree with mac624 above. we reds fans are quite sentimental and we are always thinking we will be reunited with old players. maybe we got spoiled in the 80s when Rose and Perez came back. but in reality it rarely seems to happen. Gray, chapman, Mahle, Miley are probably all just pipe dreams. maybe at the end of their careers but not now.

  13. Ghm08

    Curious, former Cuba players don’t need to defect anymore. Thought Cuba threw them in jail for attempting to defect. Obviously that’s not still the case or Yariel would not have been Playing for Cuba’s national team.

  14. BK

    I’m not sure he’s worth the salary guestimate, but he’s averaged just 3.0 walks per nine innings over his last two seasons. I’m hoping the Reds target two relievers for the pen this offseason. Rodriguez fits nicely as the second bullpen acquisition. The priority should be finding one who can make the backend of the bullpen deeper.

  15. Redsvol

    Hard pass for me. Control problems at this age rarely get drastically better. I’m sure the Reds were among 25 other clubs at the workout – doing their due diligence which is what they should be doing.

    • Votto4life

      It also allows them to say they are “shopping” without actually having to buy. Christmas is a couple months away, need to sell those season tickets.

  16. BK

    For you and others … walks came down dramatically in 2022 when he worked as a reliever. I’m not sure the control problem label is valid.

    • JayTheRed

      Wonder if they would do 4 years at 28 to 32 million. Reminder to many 54 innings is a full season in the bullpen for a lot of relievers.

  17. JB

    Ugh. How about we go after Major league established pitchers. Ones we know that can get guys out. He pitched well in Japan. Well Akiyama hit well in Japan. How did that turn out? Let’s start shopping where the big boys shop and bring in some good players with the boat load of money they have. Like I said last off season , this will be the off season where the Reds will show their hand. Bobs all in or steal shopping at flea markets.

    • JB

      Steal-still. I guess it could be steal with Bob. Maybe auto correct knows something.

      • Melvin

        “Steal” shopping? You never know. haha Always looking for the cheapest way. That’s for sure. It’s okay as long as you get good quality. We’ll see as you said.

  18. Jim m

    Go after Nola as a Ace to add with Greene, Ashcraft, Abbott and either Lodolo or Williamson.. and get some good relief pitchers. Not waiver claims to help thus bullpen.. If not Chapman, get Suter

  19. Colorado Red

    I would prefer Montgomery or Eduardo Rodrigues instead.
    5 at 20 per, I hope would get on of these two.
    Neither one is too old.