En Route to MLB: Pitcher Yariel Rodríguez Leaves Cuba

Yariel Rodríguez severed his links with the FCB

By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas

Cuban pitcher Yariel Rodriguez, one of the most talented in the island, broke off relations with the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB). The Camagüey-born escaped from the island in the last hours to the Dominican Republic and will seek to sign a Major League contract. This was reported in his social networks by journalist Francys Romero.

Yariel was one of the best pitchers of the Cuban team in the World Baseball Classic. For many, he is the best pitcher on the island at present. His talent and conditions could lead him to find an excellent deal in the MLB. Together with Liván Moinelo and Raidel Martínez, he formed a first-class Cuban triad in Asian baseball.

As is known, Yariel had an agreement in the Nippon Professional Baseball with the Chunichi Dragons. This, through the management of FCB. However, with his decision to leave the island, he left behind that commitment and his agreements with FCB, in search of a better personal and professional future.

As ratified by the aforementioned source, Yariel becomes the first player of Cuba’s official roster in the 2023 World Baseball Classic to break off relations with FCB. Let’s remember that bullpen catcher Ivan Prieto left the team in Miami, before returning to Cuba. But it so happens that Prieto was not part of the official roster of the squad.

According to Romero’s report, after his return to Cuba, Yariel decided not to continue his contract with Chunichi in the NPB and headed to the Dominican Republic. From there he will seek to sign a contract in the Big League, especially considering that he does not have any international signing restrictions. The pitcher from Camaguey is more than 25 years old and has played more than six seasons in international baseball.

With exactly six campaigns in the National Series, Yariel left a record of 32-30 with six saves. He posted a 3.50 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and had 395 strikeouts. His repertoire includes a 95 mph-plus fastball, an effective slider and a splitter that touches 90 mph.

In NPB, Yariel pitched for three seasons with Chunichi. His record was 10-10 with 39 holds in 79 games pitched. He accumulated 175.1 inning of work, in which he had a 3.03 ERA, struck out 188 opponents and held opponents to a paltry .186 batting average.

Five or six seasons of service for $50 million could be a real signing goal for Yariel, Francys said. This, according to information obtained from a Major League scout, who said that this figure is a base, but that the right-hander could receive much higher offers from some organizations that want his services.

His case is similar to the most recent experiences of his teammates Oscar Colás and Andy Rodríguez. Yariel must wait for Chunichi to release him to obtain free agency and be able to sign in MLB.

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