Blue Jays Labeled The Frontrunner for Free Agent Hurler

After being relegated to dabbling in the lower ranks of free agency thus far this offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays are now said to have “taken the lead” in the sweepstakes for the services of intriguing Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodriguez, with a decision expected soon.
The Blue Jays are among several teams chasing the 27-year-old hurler, with the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees all in the mix as well. However, only the Jays, Pirates and Red Sox are considering Rodriguez as a starter, the other teams are looking at him as a relief option, undoubtedly giving those teams the edge.

Rodriguez had been pitching out of the bullpen for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan for several years, and in his last season there, recorded a sparkling 1.15 ERA. Overall, he posted a 3.03 ERA there across 175 innings. Before his time in Japan, Rodriguez began his professional career pitching strictly in the rotation in his native Cuba, starting in 2015. 

The Cuban righty has been predicted to be able to secure a free agent deal worth anywhere from $30 million to $70 million.

Although beefing up the offence is still the biggest issue facing Toronto this off-season without a doubt, they will also be in need of a fifth starter, particularly if Alek Manoah can’t return to his previous form after a dreadful 2023. Yasiel Rodriguez, if he is indeed signed, would certainly be thrown in the mix for that fifth starter's role.

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