Washington Nationals: Jefry Rodriguez added as a depth piece
Another arm was added on a minor league contract for the Washington Nationals. Jefry Rodriguez returns to the franchise he began his career with.
When the Cleveland Indians decided to non-tender pitcher Jefry Rodriguez earlier in the offseason, I thought there was a chance he’d return to Washington. Then I looked at his numbers and hoped he wouldn’t.
Rodriguez was signed by the Nationals to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, solely as a depth move. Rodriguez is a pitcher the Washington Nationals are very familiar with, as they originally signed him out of the Dominican Republic when he was 18 years old.
Rodriguez was the 12th best prospect in the Nationals system in 2014, and ranked 19th best the following year. A 4-10 showing with a 5.42 earned run average in A Ball that year made sure he wasn’t on the ranking the following season.
In fact, Rodriguez wouldn’t climb past Single-A until three years later when he skyrocketed through the organizational ladder on his way to the majors. In 2018, he made eight starts for the Nationals and won three games. He was named the minor league pitcher of the year for his troubles.
The Nationals sold high on Rodriguez, shipping him in a package to the Indians for catcher Yan Gomes.
Rodriguez made eight starts for the Indians in 2019 and struggled mightily. He allowed too many baserunners, didn’t strike out many, and found himself out of the rotation and in the bullpen before the end of the year.
In the pandemic shortened 2020 season, he was a part of the Indians 60-man player pool, though a strained shoulder suffered late in the season kept him off the active roster.
The non-tender was an easy decision for the Indians, and here we are now, with the Nationals taking a flier on the guy. Rodriguez showed promise early in his career, though has not proven he can get major league hitters out at a respectable clip.
Unless he has a great spring, I imagine Rodriguez will be one of the first cuts, being sent to minor league camp only to get the call to the majors if there is an injury.
Nice to finally be able to announce a free agent signing, though we will have to wait a little longer for one with major league ramifications.