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Pirates Still in Mix For Cuban Right-Handed Pitcher

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Yariel Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB offseason

In October, it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates were one of the many teams in attendance to see Yariel Rodríguez during a workout in the Dominican Republic.

According to Francys Romero of BesibolFR, the Pirates are still in the mix to land Rodríguez. In addition to the Pirates, the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox are also showing continued interest in Rodríguez.

The 26-year-old pitched for his native Team Cuba in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. During the tournament, Rodríguez allowed a pair of runs and struck out 10 batters in 7.1 innings pitched.

Rodríguez has a chance to be either a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher in the major leagues once he signs with a team. The right-hander has experience in both roles during his foreign career in both Cuba and Japan.

In his last season pitching in the NPB in Japan in 2022, Rodríguez pitched out of the bullpen and was dominant. He finished the year with a 6-2 record and a stellar 1.15 ERA. In 54.2 innings, Rodríguez surrendered only 32 hits while he recorded 60 strikeouts and walked 18.

In three seasons in the NBP, Rodríguez went 10-10 with a 3.03 ERA with 188 strikeouts across 175.1 total innings pitched (79 appearances).

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ben Cherington has stated that the team is still looking for starting pitching help. It’s possible that their interest in Rodríguez is as a starting pitcher and if signed, he could join Mitch Keller, Martín Pérez and Marco Gonzales in the Pirates’ rotation next season.

Rodríguez would represent a wild card of sorts in the Pirates rotation, or in any team’s for that matter. Though there is the possibility of upside based off of his skillset on the mound.

MLBTradeRumors has Rodríguez as their No. 28 free agent on their top 50 free agents list this offseason. They projected the righty to land a four-year, $32 million contract, though they admit their confidence level in their contract prediction is not high.

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