Yankees sign Cuban pitcher Omar Luis Rodriguez

1 Comment

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the Yankees have signed Omar Luis Rodriguez, a 19-year-old left-hander who defected from Cuba and was declared a free agent earlier this month.

According to Sanchez it’s a minor-league contract, which means Rodriguez won’t need to be added to the 40-man roster, but the Yankees are paying big-league money at around $4-5 million.

Sanchez reported previously that the Dodgers, Royals, and Phillies were interested in Rodriguez, who avoids the new collective bargaining agreement’s limits on international spending by signing before July 2.

Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig, a more highly touted prospect than Rodriguez, recently defected to Mexico in an effort to quickly establish residency and become a free agent before July 2.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.