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.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.