April 24, 2024

Blue Jays Reportedly Sign Rumored Yankees Free Agent Target In Intriguing Move

Report: Blue Jays targeting Cuban pitcher Yariel Rodriguez


Blue Jays Reportedly Sign Rumored Yankees Free Agent Target In Intriguing Move BY PATRICK MCAVOY SPORTS ILLUSTRATED NY YANKEES NEWS, ANALYSIS AND MORE UPDATED JANUARY 17, 2024 9:33 AM Washington Commanders) CMC – Sports One rumored New York Yankees free agent reportedly is off the market. New York showed interest in Cuban fireballer Yariel Rodríguez earlier this offseason and was seen as one of the “strongest candidates” to land the young fireballer. It sounds like he will not be joining the Yankees, though. Rodríguez reportedly agreed to a deal with the rival Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, according to MLB.com’s Francys Romero.

“Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodríguez (26) and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a contract, per sources,” Romero said. “Rodríguez is expected to do the physical in the coming days in Toronto. He is represented by WME agency and Edgar Mercedes from Born to Play.”

Rodríguez was one of the most intriguing pitchers remaining on the market. The 26-year-old has eight seasons of professional baseball under his belt and has a career 3.08 ERA. The young hurler spent the last few seasons with the Chunichi Dragons in Nippon Professional Baseball but missed the 2023 season. He attempted to leave the Dragons and make the jump to the big leagues but was still under contract with the Dragons.

Blue Jays Reportedly Sign Rumored Yankees Free Agent Target In Intriguing  Move - Sports Illustrated NY Yankees News, Analysis and More

In his last full season with the Dragons in 2022, Rodríguez was impressive with a 2.95 ERA in 19 appearances. It’s unclear exactly what role he will play with Toronto as he has spent time as a starter and a reliever throughout his career so far. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see him begin the 2024 campaign as a starter with the Blue Jays but a move to the bullpen always could come later.

Yankees Potential Free Agent Target: Hector Neris

The Yankees have reportedly emerged as a top candidate for the reliever’s services.

This offseason’s pitching market was not the deepest one we have seen, particularly when it comes to impact relief pitchers. A handful of relievers have signed with clubs, including Craig Kimbrel and Emilio Pagán, but the Yankees have not struck a deal with any of these notable free agent arms thus far — not even old friend Wandy Peralta. The New York bullpen was a solid one in 2023, leading the majors as a unit in ERA, but like any ‘pen, reinforcements will always be needed at one point or another.

This past weekend, the Yankees emerged as a top contender for the services of Hector Neris, one of the top relief options on the market headed into the 2024 campaign. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand had the rumor:

The match would certainly make some sense for the Yankees, Neris will not be the investment that a Josh Hader-esque reliever would be, but his talent and consistency are well-documented, and the righty is coming off of a career year. Neris had a player option for 2024, worth $8.5 million, but elected to decline and test the open market. Based on some of the numbers being thrown to to other pitchers around the league, it seems like a wise move at the moment.

As mentioned, Neris had a banner year in 2023, his second with the Houston Astros. In 68.1 innings, he managed a stingy 1.71 ERA (seventh-best among qualified relievers), a 3.83 FIP, while striking out an impressive 28.2 percent of opposing batters, and walking 11.4 percent. In terms of simple run prevention, it was the easily the best of his 10-year big league career, but it didn’t come without any downsides.


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