The Cincinnati Reds may be looking to bring in some more pitching this offseason and one target could be Cuban free agent Yariel Rodriguez. Cincinnati was scouting his throwing session back in October and must have liked what they saw because according to Francys Romero of MLB.com the Reds remain interested in the free agent reliever.

During his showcase for teams in October, Yariel Rodriguez showed off five pitches – a fastball, sliver, curveball, splitter, and a change up. His fastball, slider, and curveball all showed very high spin rates. The fastball also averaged 96.2 MPH.

Starting in 2015, Rodriguez spent six seasons pitching in Cuban before he headed to Japan to pitch from 2020-2022. The only competitive pitching he had in 2023 was with Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. Rodriguez wasn’t injured, but wanted to make the move to Major League Baseball and sat out the year in order to do so.

During his time in Japan he transitioned from a starting pitcher into a reliever. In his first season there he posted a 4.12 ERA in 59.0 innings. But in 2021 he lowered his ERA to 3.65 in 61.2 innings pitched. He really broke out in 2022, when as a 25-year-old he posted a 1.15 ERA in 54.2 innings while dramatically cutting down on his walks (just 18 of them – two being intentional) and not allowing a single home run in 56 games.

In the World Baseball Classic he face off against the Netherlands and Australia – starting both games – and allowed two runs in 7.1 innings while striking out 10 batters, but walking six.

With some past experience starting, but a strong relief background of late, it’s possible that Yariel Rodriguez could be similar to Nick Martinez in the sense that he could sign and compete for a spot in the rotation but fall back into the bullpen and at least early in the year if that happens, remain a potential starting option if one is needed.

61 Responses

  1. RedBB

    This would be a great signing that further adds versatility to the pitching staff. Not sure what it would cost though. Guessing somewhere around 2-3 years for $5-6M each.

    • Stock

      Per MLBTR, Rodriguez could land a deal between $30 million and $50 million. He should get more than Pagan for sure.

      My guess is he will land a deal of $10 – $15 million a year for 3 years. He was a relief pitcher in his 3 years in Japan. But the first two years he averaged 5 innings per appearance. Makes me think he followed an opener.

      • CDAWGTHEHAWG

        I’d expect, with that being the case, the reds coming in at 2/24 with 3rd year option, or worded as 3/36 with 3rd year opt out.

  2. LDS

    I suspect this too will turn out to be “fake news”. I don’t see the Reds going 30-50 on a relatively unknown pitcher. Until Krall and the FO show me something, I’ll continue to view such stories as plants that say “see we tried, but everything was too expensive”.

    • AllTheHype

      If they signed this guy, you’d probably still rant and pretend they didn’t just like you’re pretending they didn’t already spend $88M to improve the club this offseason.

      • greenmtred

        The “relatively unknown” in LDS’s comment may have been a clever laying of groundwork to dismiss the signing. It seems clear to me that the Reds are primarily relying on the young players they currently have and don’t plan to compete for very costly free agents or trades that would decimate their system. It’s a gamble and so is any other strategy they pursue, as has been pointed out by other commenters. I understand being frustrated about it, but I am not. Last season provided enough hope and excitement to keep me interested.

      • VegasRed

        Who spent $88 million?

        That’s crazy talk that I see too often on here and elsewhere. Future payroll is not spent money. Some of that salary may get opted out and/or traded out.

        Just asking for a little intellectual honesty from those fans who are in love with every penny the Reds deign to spend in the their billion dollar business.

        And btw, I like who they have signed so far in the 3 FA new guys. I still see a need for more proven mlb pitching and expect/hope to see more.

      • Justin T

        What improved? Seriously. What area did the Reds address that leaves you saying “ ___ is shored up now?” 2 middle relievers and a 30 yr old third baseman? Thats the return for over 88 million spent. You watched the games last year right? Didnt ya think they needed a good starter or 2? The closer led the team in wins. Thats embarrassing. I dont see it.

    • Stock

      The way I read it is that per LDS, if the Reds spend 30-50 on a “relatively unknown” pitcher then he is admitting he has been wrong all off-season.

      I think this acquisition would complete the puzzle for the Reds. For that matter they are one pitcher away from completing their offseason.

      • Justin T

        Your closer led your club in wins last year. Dont ya think a starter or 2 would help or is your puzzle complete?

    • Optimist

      How many other “relatively unknown” Cuban pitchers has this ownership group signed?

    • Votto4life

      You guys do know this is a rumor right? Some here are already penciling him in the rotation.

      Gray, Bieber, Cease, Glasnow Imanga and now Rodriguez. if rumors were reality we would have a pretty good rotation.

      • LDS

        @V4L, it’s fun to watch all these Reds fans suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. This guy has pitched in Cuba and Japan. Akiyama was a .300 hitter in Japan. The experience doesn’t necessarily translate. Maybe it will but then again, I don’t really expect the Reds to sign him. They can finish in 3/4 place without spending more money.

    • greenmtred

      LDS: Do you really think that the Reds would go to the trouble of planting these stories? My guess is that the only fans who even pay attention this time of year are, like us, committed, die-hard fans. Even those of us who have nothing positive to say.

      • LDS

        Of course, I do. Companies do this routinely. No reason to think the Reds are any different. It’s especially true for stories that originate with one of the Reds’ FO mouthpieces.

      • Doug Gray

        Who exactly are the Reds FO mouthpieces?

      • Justin T

        They need to fill those seats up, get your tickets! We are interested in several big time players!

    • Tom Reeves

      Imagine if the players had a little optimism as LDS – wouldn’t that be a joy to watch?

      • Justin T

        Some drink the kool-aid and some don’t. I think he is one of the few based in reality. If this front office and manager were in a city that expected to win, it would be a disaster. David Bell would be ran out of town in 97% of the markets but here he is on contract number 3 in 5 years. Its mind numbing.

  3. west larry

    The reds and five or six others teams are trying to sign him. Good luck, I hope the reds do sign him.

    • TR

      Reds fans should not underestimate Nick Krall.

      • Justin T

        Yes, he may still have some triple A depth signings up his sleeve.

    • Votto4life

      Not to mention Rodgruiez only wants to start. The Red’s interest in him is as a reliever. There is an article on MLBT linking him most recently to the Cubs.

      According to the MLBT article, The Reds were last connected to Rodriguez in early October. This was before the Reds signed Martinez and Pagan.

      I suspect both parties have moved on at this point.

      • Votto4life

        “According to the MLBT article, The Reds were last connected to Rodriguez in early October.”

        Correction: the MLBTR article stated the Reds have been linked to Rodriguez as recently as this week.

        I wonder if the Farmer signing impacts their interest?

      • Colorado Red

        V4L,
        I would think so. Kiss this signing goodbye.

        Overall, a really poor off season, compared to what they need.
        If they make a trade or a signing, I will recant this statement.

  4. sultanofswaff

    A lot of unlocked potential here imo. pair the high spin rates with a major league pitching coach plus analytics department and he could really blossom.

    As we head into January no team in the division has pulled away on paper. I’m becoming more comfortable with the idea of running it back if we can’t land a top flight starter or reliever…but with an eye squarely on a midseason trade.

  5. AllTheHype

    Not many 25 yos available with a low mileage, fresh arm that most recently worked at a 1.15 ERA. At a minimum, he would be a dynamic addition to the bullpen.

  6. Mark Moore

    He’s an interesting potential option, that much is sure. We have a pretty strong Latinx culture on the team (I know other teams do as well), so that may play into the ultimate choice of where he signs. I like the flexibility of him as a reliever or potential starter. I still don’t trust our dear HDTBell to use a longer reliever effectively in most cases, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Plus MLB, it seems, will continue to shorten the expected outings and pitch count of the starters as time progresses. The days of throwing a complete game are numbered IMO.

    • RedsMonk65

      “The days of throwing a complete game are numbered IMO.”

      Just out of curiosity, I looked it up. There were 34 complete games thrown last year in MLB. By comparison, 30 years ago, in 1993, there were 371. Wow.

      • Oldtimer

        Joey Jay, Jim O’Toole, and Bob Purkey threw 38 CG combined in 1961 alone.

  7. DataDumpster

    How many times have we heard the reds are “interested” in a pitcher and have engaged in talks only to come up empty this offseason? I would say at least six including some really top names. Secondly, how are we getting this information? Reporters just makin’ up things to ruin their reputation, lowly orderlies in the Reds organization trying to get fired…don’t think so. This narrative is pushed by the top level as a lead in to David Bell’s statement “I like the team that we have” if the cup isn’t filled. Maybe us as fans are too excited by the potential in this team for 2024, I reckon the powers that be are satisfied to wait until midseason to gage progress. Now, they can be smugly sated having addressed the injury wildcard by signing a 15 mil decent but surplus infielder who doesn’t seem to up the lackluster defensive posture. Two “value” arms acquired notwithstanding, why was I convinced that there was a second part to the surplus infielder trade that would land a much bigger fish who could pitch? There is still time but the building of the present narrative greatly overwhelms the building of the “go for it” mentality. Not impressed and still not clear who is going to burn all those September innings. I guess if the Reds are 10 back at the break, then their stance would be vindicated in their view, otherwise the lifting gets heavier and even more expensive.

    • Votto4life

      “How many times have we heard the reds are “interested” in a pitcher and have engaged in talks only to come up empty this offseason?“

      Let’s see…
      Shota Imanaga
      Edurado Rodriguez
      Shane Bieber
      Tyler Glasnow
      Dylan Cease
      Yariel Rodriguez

      I may have missed one or two

  8. Old-school

    Buck farmer back on a 1 year deal

    Bubba we barely knew you.

  9. Redhaze

    Need to sign the Cuban Missle while waiting on this Cuban pitcher.

  10. Stock

    Call me crazy but I think the Reds and Milwaukee are co-favorites to win the division at the moment. I also feel this team as is will be in the playoffs. The Reds are not in a “go for it” mentality and they shouldn’t be. They should be looking long term. They are wise not to give away the farm for an unknown like Cease.

    Bullpen pieces expected to be in available in both 2023 and 2024: Diaz, Gibaut, Cruz

    Here in 2023 on opening day but not for 2024:
    Law, Farmer, Young, Sanmartin and Kuhnel

    Here for 2024 on opening day but not 2023:
    Moll, Antone, Sims, Martinez and Pagan

    2024 is a much better group.
    .
    SP in 2023: Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Weaver, Cessa
    SP in 2024: Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Abbott, Williamson

    2024 is a much better group

    Starting lineup in 2023: Stephenson, Vosler, India, Barrero, Steer, Fraley, Friedl, Benson and Wil Myers.

    Projected Starting lineup for 2024: Stephenson, Candelerio, India, McLain, EDLC, Steer, Fraley, Friedl and Benson.

    Safe to say EDLC, Candelerio and McLain are much, much better than Vosler, Barrero and Wil Myers.

    Bench in 2023: Fairchild, Kevin Newman, Maile and Casali
    Bench in 2024: Marte, CES, Maile and Unknown

    Again safe to say this bench is much, much better than the 2023 opening day bench.

    And as good as it looks for 2024 it looks even better for 2025 and beyond when players such as: Blake Dunn, Jacob Hurtubise, Edwin Arroyo, Rece Hinds, the second pick in the 2024 draft, Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, Rhett Lowder and Chase Petty are ready for the show.

    • AllTheHype

      Agree, as Cubs have not done anything to replace production they lost and Cardinals still have a lot of holes.

      And as far as the rotation and bullpen, we’re in much better position than in 2023.

      I really like the potential of this guy, 25 and low mileage arm with great success against advanced competition. Reds have a lot of competition to get him, but it complete a great offseason. Any other additions would be gravy after that.

    • Votto4life

      Currently, Fangraphs have the NL Central as
      1. St.Louis
      2. Milwaukee
      3. Chicago
      4. Cincinnati (77 wins)
      5. Pittsburgh

      • Colorado Red

        Fangraphs did not do a good job on the Reds last year.
        I do not worry about what they say.

      • Tom Reeves

        The Reds are in a position where a lot of young players can improve or regress very quickly. So it’s hard to predict how Reds will actually perform in 2024. I’m hoping for a big step forward and if that happened, this team wins this weak division. Make the playoffs several times over the next 4-5 years and who knows what can happen.

      • TR

        The current version of the Cardinals win the NLC in 2024? That’s obviously a Cardinal fan working for Fangraph.

    • Oldtimer

      Crazy. The Reds are a playoff contender but not NL Central co-favorites due to SP questions remaining.

      There is no valid reason to comparison to compare the Opening Day rosters only.

      The Reds SP was only fair last year and only marginally better this year,

      The Reds BP (using 8 primary relievers) had 42 wins, 50 saves, and ERA+ of more than 200 (skewed up by Moll who had 633 ERA+). One of the best bullpens in NL.

  11. MBS

    Ace: Diaz
    New $$$: Martinez, Pagan
    LHP: Moll, Young
    Returning Vets 0 options: Farmer, Sims, Gibaut

    AAA: Antone, Cruz, Duarte

    I don’t like Farmer being the last arm we sign.

  12. DaveCT

    The signing of Capel vs the possible loss of Thompson now gains more legs. Krafty Ol’ Krall. Mr. Methodical.

  13. tim

    anybody else think one of fraley or benson needs to be traded? both left-handed hitters who play right field? i would miss either one, but probably benson the most.

    • AllTheHype

      LHH LF/RF/DH options against RHP.

      3 positions for 2 players against 70% of pitchers. Plenty of opportunities for both.

  14. Redleg Chris

    Would like this signing. Wish we would not trade the prospects for an SP and acquire on FA market. Sonny back would have been nice but need another quality innings eater up front

  15. Greenfield Red

    I just don’t understand tbe continued
    negativity by some here. The Reds have spent money in the past. They are spending it now. They took 2022 and 2023 off from extra spending for a good reason.

    They may very well be really good into the foreseable future BECAUSE of ownership and the front office.

    With regard to,starters, there is one point rarely mentioned here: Greene Lodolo, Abbott, Ashcraft, Williamson, and Phillips are all getting better. None are close to their prime yet. Sure, they could all flop, but I doubt it

    • Colorado Red

      Greene and Nick, have had injury problems.
      Abbott wore out last year, and I have high hopes
      Ashcraft, had an up and down season, hopefully he learns.
      Williamson is still a prospect.
      I my opinion, we need slightly older starter who can provide leadership.
      I do not want them to sell the farm, but something still needs to be done.
      I do not want another 1 and done in the postseason, if we make it.

    • Tom Reeves

      Exactly. 2020 was an absolute financial disaster for the Reds – $47m loss (which was covered by debt). They lost money again in 2022. Obviously 2023 was a rebound year for the team. The team also doesn’t seem super worried about Bally Sports Ohio failing but maybe that’s why we haven’t seen the Reds get back to the $150m in payroll. Either way, I think the front office is fielding a darn fine team with a boat load of talent. If most of the young talent takes step forward, this team with be tough one with which to tangle.

      • Justin T

        The Reds go into 2024 the same way they have the last several years, with a bunch of question marks. For a team to have a payroll in the bottom half of the league, for them to lose 40 million dollars in a season says maybe baseball ownership isnt for them. They made bad signings, they have never seemed to understand the better you are the more people show up.

        The Reds could win 85 games or lose 90 in 2024, noone would be surprised either way. To commit 80 million and not address any major need shows the Reds still haven’t learned how to field a team. Almost every starter was injured last year. Did we go out and sign one? No. We had a surplus of young infielders and not enough spots for them. Did we sign a 30 yr old infielder to a 45 million dollar deal? Yes. Krall had one job this winter, sign some pitching. He signed 2 long relievers.

    • Optimist

      Not quite there yet as far as ownership goes, but the FO has done very well for the last 3-4 years. Mixed/negative results from the Moose/Akiyama/Castellanos moves, but very, very good since then, including cutting loose early in many cases. One good starter signing and the FO has done as well as can be expected.

      If that is accomplished, it’s then purely a function of ownership, since the final push will come down to $$$$ at the trade deadline or into next off season. Still very skeptical about that.

      • Justin T

        They also traded away 2 pitchers who had legitimate Cy Young type seasons last year. They let Castellanos walk for nothing. They let Miley walk for nothing. They had a manager that lost 100 games and brought him back halfway into the next season for 3 more years.

        Commitment to excellence.

  16. Mike Mc

    I think we’ve failed if this is it in the bullpen. Rodriguez would be better than Farmer, Gibault, etc., Young sux against LH hitting, so I think he’s toast, AAA if it was me, I’d sign Chapman, we need another Lefty,and someone who has gas! Just staying with the same pen except for Pagan(flyback pitcher) and Martinez is not trying to win the division imho. We still need a actual RH run producer for RF, cause Benson & Fraley can’t hit lefties at all! Stupidly is what I’d call the Reds lack of filling pitcher and hitting needs! Goooo Reds!

  17. Wayne

    What do you think the changesLuis Castillo will be traded?