Blue Jays officially sign Yariel Rodríguez to a five-year deal, Otto López designated for assignment

Ryley Delaney
2 months ago
It’s official.
On Friday morning, the Blue Jays officially signed 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Yariel Rodríguez to a five-year, $32 million deal.
Rodríguez spent three seasons with the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Baseball League where he had a 3.03 ERA in 175.1 innings pitched, with a 25.4 K% and a 10.4 BB%. His final season in the NPB was in 2022, where he had a 1.15 ERA and a 27.5 K% and an 8.3 BB% in 54.2 innings pitched after moving to the bullpen.
The Cuban pitcher hasn’t pitched since the World Baseball Classic, where he posted a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched along with 10 strikeouts and six walks. 
It’s predicted that the Blue Jays will try and stretch out Rodríguez this season, with him eventually becoming a full-time starter in 2025. That’s the hope, at least, but still, $6.4 million a season for a pitcher that sits in the mid-90s with the fastball, a great slider and a developing splitter.
To make room for Rodríguez, the Blue Jays have designated Otto López for assignment. At one point, the 25-year-old utility player was a top 10 Blue Jays prospect, slashing .297/.378/.415 with three homers in 391 plate appearances in Triple-A during the 2022 season.
Unfortunately for López, he only slashed .258/.313/.343 with two homers in 346 plate appearances in 2023 with the Buffalo Bisons for a 65 wRC+, by far the lowest mark in his career. His 2023 season was full of injuries, prompting the Jays to send him to the Dominican Winter League.
López had some success with Leones del Escogido in LIDOM, slashing .310/.351/.483 with two homers in 94 plate appearances, along with a 6.4 BB% and a 13.8 K%. I’d say it’s a 50/50 chance that López is claimed off waivers.
Hopefully, the Jays realize they need to continue to be active during free agency and sign either Cody Bellinger or Matt Chapman, but a trade would be alright as well.

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