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Blue Jays sign Yariel Rodríguez to 5-year, $32M deal

Yuki Taguchi / Major League Baseball / Getty

The Toronto Blue Jays signed right-hander Yariel Rodríguez to a five-year, $32-million contract, the team announced Friday.

It was previously reported as a four-year deal in January before Rodríguez completed his physical.

The fifth year of the pact is a player option for $6 million, according to The Athletic's Kaitlyn McGrath, who notes if Rodríguez declines the option, the Blue Jays can exercise a separate team option for $10 million for the fifth year.

It's unclear what role Rodríguez will fill for the Blue Jays, but general manager Ross Atkins made it seem like he would be given a shot to start. Rodríguez has experience as both a starter and reliever.

"Yariel brings a diverse arsenal, impressive athleticism, and ability to get swing-and-miss," Atkins said, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, adding, "He adds starting depth to our pitching group and has a chance to impact our Major League team in multiple roles."

The 26-year-old Cuban hurler was a highly desirable free agent after an impressive run for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan, where he posted a 1.15 ERA in 56 appearances in 2022.

Overall, he spent three seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, posting a 10-10 record with a 3.03 ERA in 175 1/3 innings.

Rodríguez made two starts for Cuba during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, allowing two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings.

The pitcher is the latest addition by Toronto's front office, which also recently added veteran slugger Justin Turner after signing utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier in December.

The Blue Jays designated infielder Otto Lopez for assignment to make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster.

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