Yariel Rodriguez, 26, is reportedly in the Dominican Republic seeking a contract with an MLB team, while Cuba’s baseball federation claims he is under control of the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League through 2024.
On the surface, this appears to be cut and dried but is complicated by Japanese teams’ habit of occasionally playing fast and loose with contract details.
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If things are as the FCB and the Dragons say they are, then Rodriguez is unlikely to be allowed to sign with anyone until Chunichi releases him, something that is unlikely to happen without Cuba’s approval. That process would likely play out like it did for Oscar Colas, who between his last at-bat for Japan’s SoftBank Hawks, and his contract with the Chicago White Sox, spent two seasons in limbo.
In December, Chunichi Sports reported an announcement by the FCB that the 26-year-old’s contract with the Dragons had been extended for two years, so Japan’s media is taking the Dragons and the FCB at their word that Rodriguez’s signature is on the contract.
My colleague Claudio Rodriguez of Beisbol Japones.com has supplied this photo of Rodriguez’s signing ceremony:
My dealings with Colas and his contracts and documents with the Hawks painted a picture of both Cuban officials and Hawks hirelings cutting corners because they held all the cards and are unused to scrutiny. Signatures on different documents didn’t remotely match, Colas’ mother’s signature on his first contract – necessary because he was a minor – was misspelled.Continue reading Rodriguez: Defects in the system