By Robiel Vega/ @robielcuba87
When Santiago de Cuba native Yordis Perera signed with the New York Mets last March 9, few of us imagines that the management of the organization would release another Cuban from the team: pitcher/catcher Ariel Alejandro Yera (from Cienfuegos), who signed on February 19, 2019.
Yera made his National Series debut with the Elefantes de Cienfuegos in the 55th installment of the tournaments (2015-2016) at age 18 as a catcher, but he did not have a starring role. In parts of two seasons in Cuba, he barely played 37 games, with a poor slash line of .208/.296/.292/.588, 10 hits, six RBI, two doubles and a triple, plus five walks and 18 strikeouts.
After leaving Cuba, he signed with the Mets in 2019, playing 23 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Class A Advanced, without outstanding numbers: .221/.284/.235/.519, having a double as his sole extra base, four runs batted in, six walks and 27 strikeouts.
In 2021, he transitioned to pitcher, due to his six-foot-three-inch height, and he was demoted to the Rookie category, in the Florida Complex League. As a reliever, he had eight outings, with no earned runs in 9.2 frames, with five hits, seven walks, two hits by pitch and three strikeouts. He also committed a balk and threw two wild pitches. His woes, all control-related, kept him from succeeding more.
So, according to the player’s minor league profile, he was released last March 10, 24 hours after the signing of Yordis Perera. Yera joins Alfredo Rodríguez, formerly with the Cincinnati Reds, in the list of Cubans who have been fired after MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement on the CBA.
Although Alfredo’s case is different, because the Havana prospect had a very good performance in AAA in 117 games in 2021 (.283/.333/.354/.686), apart from having five years under his belt in the minors and one Dominican League (LIDOM) season, in which he left a good image in 2020.
With such a pedigree, Alfredo must have a much clearer path than Yera to find a new team. Yera is expected to get into Independent Baseball, looking for a chance to restart his career. The Cienfuegos-born has just turned 25 and will have to prove a lot more if he wants to fulfill his dream of making it to the Show.