In 2022, Rodriguez pitched with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons. He played 56 games and recorded a 1.15 ERA. This is the lowest ERA he has ever posted in his career. He last pitched at the 2023 World Baseball Classic for his country of origin, Cuba. As a pitcher, Rodríguez’s main pitches are his fastball, slider, curveball, changeup and splitter mix. His fastball averages about 96 miles per hour. Rodríguez’s reported signing does pose a risk. He has yet to pitch in MLB. As well, his role is also not set in stone yet. But this signing comes at no surprise because teams have been giving out eye catching contracts to international players this offseason.

Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was one of them. He signed a $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December. A more comparable player to Rodríguez, is 30-year-old Shota Imanaga. He signed a four-year, 53 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in January of this year. It is not clear yet whether the Blue Jays will employ Rodríguez as a starter or reliever. While the Blue Jays focus was to add offense to their roster, the Jays are certainly in need of rotation depth.

Alek Manoah will likely be in the Blue Jays starting rotation. But if Manoah has a similar 2023 season, they will not be able to turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu who is a free agent. So, acquiring Rodriquez was a move that made sense because of Alek Manoah primarily. A continuation of a poor performance from Manoah is not off the table unfortunately. Only time will tell with this. So, Rodríguez could serve as a player to turn to in case this happens. The Blue Jays could also use Rodríguez in the bullpen, where they need to replace Jordan Hicks. The 2023 deadline acquisition signed a four-year, $44-million deal with the San Francisco Giants on January 11th. Rodríguez’s role will become more pronounced once pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training.

Letter Grade of C

After dissecting these three players and what they offer for the Blue Jays, the Blue Jays earn a letter grade of C. The Blue Jays could have focused more on offense in their offseason pickups. But overall, Rodriquez and IFK were two adequate pickups. They are two moves that make sense for the Jays. With the addition of Justin Turner this will provide the Jays with more offense in the 2024 season. If all the Blue Jays offensive players can provide consistency with RISP and coming out big when it matters, then this will help them make a push in the AL East.

Main Photo Credits: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.