The New York Mets were one of 15 teams in attendance this week at Cuban hurler Yariel Rodriguez's showcase for MLB scouts in the Dominican Republic. The 26-year-old right-hander had impressed for the Cuban National team during the World Baseball Classic this spring and he previously had been playing for the Chunichi Dragons in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Rodriguez was recently granted his release from his contract with the Chunichi Dragons as he looks to pursue a career in Major League Baseball. He put his talents on display for half of the league this week, as many teams figure out whether his repertoire plays better in a starting rotation or out of the bullpen, as he has done both in his career in Cuba and Japan.
The Mets should be heavily involved in the Yariel Rodriguez sweepstakes this winter
it is reported by baseball reporter Francys Romero that Rodriguez could command anywhere between $50-$70 million once he is ruled eligible for free agency with Major League baseball. That's surely a number that could fit in the Mets' ever-expanding budget, especially with the amount of pitching resources they will be looking at this offseason.
Rodriguez's arm is absolutely electric and he displayed all five of his offerings this week which included his fastball, slider, curveball, splitter, and changeup. Rodriguez is highly praised for the movement and spin rate on all of his pitches, especially his slider.
Could Rodriguez make a very similar impact to Kodai Senga, should the Mets decide to bring him aboard this offseason? It's certainly possible, but the bar has been set extremely high after Senga's impressive rookie debut stateside. The arm talent is unquestioned with Rodriguez, and I believe it will be crucial for the Mets to stick to one strict plan with his talent to produce success whether that is in the bullpen or in the starting rotation.
I believe Rodriguez would be a phenomenal addition to a Mets organization in need of fresh arms. His pure stuff could be a lethal weapon out of the Mets bullpen in the late innings as a bridge to Edwin Diaz. I wouldn't expect a Kodai Senga-type impact but I believe he will be worth every penny that would be spent on his talent.