Not going back to Japan… Cuban pitcher who broke his promise, broke 2-year contract ‘ML challenge’

Cuban-born right-hander Ariel Rodriguez (26) of the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese professional baseball team defected after the World Baseball Classic (WBC) ended. He signed a two-year contract with Chunichi, but he does not return to Japan and challenges the major leagues. 

‘Baseball FR’, which conveys the baseball news of the jungnam, reported on the 29th (hereinafter Korean time) that Rodriguez would terminate the contract with Chunichi and seek a major league contract soon. According to reports, he was originally scheduled to return to Japan on the 29th, but Rodriguez is currently in the Dominican Republic. He was also the first WBC varsity player to sever ties with the Cuban Baseball Federation. 

Rodriguez joined Chunichi in 2020 and메이저놀이터 recorded 79 games (175⅓ innings), 10-10-39 hold, 3.03 ERA, and 188 strikeouts over three years in Japan. Last year, he had his best season with a 1.15 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 56 games (54⅔ innings), 6 wins, 2 losses, 39 holds, and 161km fastball from the bullpen. He also won the best middle pitcher award, and after the season signed an additional two-year multi-year contract with Chunichi. 

He recently competed in the WBC as part of the Cuban national team. He started both games and posted an earned run average of 2.45 with 5 hits, 6 walks, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts and 2 runs in 7⅓ innings. 

Although he signed a two-year contract with Chunichi, he decided to escape Cuba and challenge the US major league. According to reports, American League team scouting expected Rodriguez to be available for a five- to six-year, $50 million contract. He caught the major league eye with a WBC-best 98 mph fastball and 3,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), a splitter sprinkled slider that was above the major league average. According to officials, he is rated as a 3-5 starting pitcher. 

Hector Mendoza, Adolis Garcia, Oscar Colas, and Andy Rodriguez were former players who signed contracts with Japanese professional baseball teams with the approval of the Cuban government, but broke them and went to the major leagues. Now, Rodriguez is 25 years old and has spent more than 6 professional seasons, so he is pursuing a major league contract as a free agent, not an international amateur. However, it is possible to sign a major league contract only when the relationship with Chunichi is completely settled. He is a key bullpen in the first team, so he is a player that cannot be easily given up even as a Chunichi.

Cuban outfielder Colas, who played for the Softbank Hawks in 2019, has been delayed due to reservation issues. Initially, Softbank insisted on a five-year suspension and did not let go easily. Colas asked for the termination of the suspension on the grounds that the contract was made by the Cuban association, not by the individual player, and was recognized as a free agent, but it took close to a month. 

Colas, who was young at 22, was not a full-fledged free agent, but an international amateur. He waited for a year as an invincible player because several teams had already spent a lot of money in a situation where there was a limit on international amateur signings for each club. After building his body through individual training in the Dominican Republic, he signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox for $2.7 million last January.

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