The Reds signed Cuban SS Alfredo Rodriguez today. It was thought that the Reds originally had a deal with Rodrgiuez back in January. Here is the story from Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors:

The Reds have agreed to terms with Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez on a $7MM deal, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes. Rodriguez is a strong defensive shortstop with good speed, as Sanchez notes. He was the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional.

Rodriguez ranked sixth on MLB.com’s list of the top international prospects available this signing period. He has excellent speed and range. He doesn’t yet hit well, although MLB.com notes there is some hope his bat will develop.

Despite Rodriguez’s pro experience, he is subject to rules regarding international bonus pools, so his $7MM bonus represents a significant financial outlay for the Reds, who have a bonus pool of $5,163,400 and currently project to be penalized as the result of the signing. The Reds have long been connected to Rodriguez, with some reports indicating they had a deal with him all the way back in January, in the previous signing period.

Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote that Rodriguez is an elite defender, but has a ways to go with the bat.

Alfredo Rodriguez, the 2014-15 Serie Nacional rookie of the year and gold glove winner at shortstop, has left Cuba to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned.

Rodriguez, 21, has a long way to go as a hitter but was arguably the best defensive shortstop in Cuba. He’s an athletic, agile defender with smooth, fluid actions. He’s extremely light on his feet and has good body control and range, with an average arm. At around 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Rodriguez is a plus runner who ranked third in Serie Nacional in stolen bases with 12 steals in 16 attempts.

If Rodriguez gets to the major leagues, he likely will never hit higher than the bottom of the order, if his righthanded bat improves enough to get him there. In 84 games this past season for La Isla De La Juventud, Rodriguez batted .265/.301/.284 with three doubles, one triple, no home runs, 11 walks and 38 strikeouts in 304 plate appearances. Rodriguez did have some solid offensive years in the Cuban junior leagues, but his bat is still light. Based on his present ability, he would probably start his career at one of the Class A levels.

Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs had this report on Rodriguez, and he ranked him as his #12 international prospect.

Rodriguez, who’s a former recipient of Serie Nacional’s Rookie of the Year award, has been linked to the Reds for some time, and he’s expected to ink a $7 million deal with Cincinnati during the upcoming J2 period. Rodriguez is the most advanced defender in the class (he should be, he’s almost 23) and plays an acrobatic and effective shortstop. Though his arm is just average, Rodriguez has tremendous control of his body and finds ways to make timely and accurate throws from various platforms. His swing lacks effective use of the lower half and there’s never going to be impactful game power here, but he tracks pitches well, has good bat speed and solid hand-eye coordination which should lead to hard line-drive and ground-ball contact.

Rodriguez is a plus runner and he could outperform my current hit-tool projection (40) if he learns to BABIP pitchers to death by slashing and running more than scouts saw him doing in Cuba. He might ride his glove to an everyday job — and indeed there are worse all-around players than what Rodriguez projects to be trotting out to shortstop everyday — but he profiles better as a utility man. He is likely to be the first player from this class to debut in the majors.

C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquier reported that Raisel Iglesias is a big fan of Rodriguez.

The Reds have scouted Cuba heavily under Jocketty, but their biggest Cuban signings to this point have been pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias.

Rodriguez, 22, was Cuba’s rookie of the year in the 2014-15 season, but there has been skepticism among some in the baseball community about the Reds’ investment in Rodriguez.

Don’t count Iglesias among those. Iglesias said he doesn’t know Rodriguez but has seen him play and has been impressed.

“God’s blessed him, the way he plays defense is unbelievable,” Iglesias said, according to interpreter Julio Morillo. “He’s really relaxed and he makes everything look easy. He doesn’t feel pressure. It’s amazing.”

Iglesias added, “He fields good, he’s got a good arm, he can run, he has all the tools to play at this level.”

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 45 Comments

  1. Well for years we’ve argued among ourselves whether Cozart’s glove outweighed his offensive ineptness. Now it looks like with a couple of years, we will be having the same argument concerning Rodriguez.

    • At least Cozart has always had some power. .284 slugging % is like….

      • Cozart is 154 of 183 in slugging from 2011 to now among all players with 2000+ PA (he has 2300).

        That .284 slugging is in a handful of games.

        Feels weird “defending” the guy, because I don’t like the signing at all.

        • Regardless of where he ranks over the course of his career, he’s has consistently generated power. I believe 2014 really drags his numbers down. Outside of 2014, when Cozart was one of the worst hitters in baseball, he’s never posted a SLG of less than .381, and in 3 years (including this one) he’s posted above .450 in SLG. HIs ISO (again outside of 2014) has never been below .127 (2013), and that was the only year he’s been below .153 in ISO.

          Even in a handful of games, an ISO of .019 doesn’t inspire much.

  2. The Reds must know something all the other teams are overlooking. They added Peraza and, now Rodriguez, who both feature speed and defense. Meanwhile, the other teams are all wasting their time focusing on players’ OBP and ISO.

    • They also drafted Nick Senzel.

      They are valuing proximity to the majors over other stuff… not speed and defense. I know that’s been the narrative around here, and it seems like it coudl be right, but proximity seems a stronger driving factor.

      • Also Okey. He’s probably going to be higher in the system than T.Stephenson by August.

        Barring a lot of injuries, the pitching should be in place by 2018 and ready to really rock by 2019. However, beyond presumably Votto, maybe Duvall and BHam, perhaps Senzel, they really don’t have a clue on position guys that match up with it in production potential by then. Thus the focus on proximity.

      • That (proximity) throws the ol’ best player available philosophy right out the window.

  3. It looks like we’ve signed the next Janish.
    Looks like the Braves knew what they were doing. Another fail for the rebuild binder.

    • Yep, that child they signed is a shoe-in! He’ll be smashing 40 homers next year!!

  4. I don’t care that my shortstop can’t hit (yet) but makes all the plays. Short is a defense-first position. I’m encouraged that he “tracks the call well” and that his problem may be his lack of integrating his bottom half in his swing. That can be taught,

    • call = ball. Sheesh.

      • Yeah, but it’s not like Cozart’s a bum in the field, and we already have a young, rangy, speedy infielder in Peraza. I’m sure I don’t know nearly enough about the reasoning behind this to form a concrete assessment, but it seems, with the limited info available, to be a somewhat redundant signing.

        • All true. It will be either Peraza or Rodriquez at short for now and having both would be redundant.

        • Cozart is out the door; Peraza becomes a 2B. Assuming Nick Senzel (@3B) works out the net outcome would seem to make spare parts of Suarez and Alex Blandino (#29 overall 2014 draft, now at AA)

  5. When any team thinks they know more than 29 other teams, I am highly skeptical. No one in baseball appeared willing to offer AlfRod nearly as much as the Reds. The Reds seemed to get in a bidding war against themselves. I don’t get spending all the allotment on one player, especially when he projects as a utility player. Other, younger and more touted, players were available for less money. Would they be as good as bets to get to the majors? Probably not. But when the payoff of the risk may be the 2nd coming of Janish, does that make anyone feel better?

    • Other recent examples of the Reds “knowing” something that no other org seemed to know…. Iglesias as a starting pitcher. Lorenzen as any type of pitcher versus being a position player. Nick Howard as a starting pitcher of 1st round quality.

      • I will gladly and thankfully concede that it is beginning to look like if the Reds can keep Iggy and Lorenzen on field, they may have found the core of a very good bullpen in them. However, at what cost ($27M and a #38 overall draft pick) versus what other orgs are paying for home grown relievers?

  6. Risk adverse would be another to describe the FO’s moves. In an addition to proximity to the show they seem to pick up high floor/low ceiling types.

  7. I’m not very optimistic about the rebuilding process in cincy. I think the binder is missing a few pages………Maybe this kid stumbled across some nude photos of WJ and this is his pay off.

  8. Ok, this guy is already 23 yrs old, he’s a light hitter and the Reds blew their entire international signing period allotment on this guy and then some and will be hit with some kind of penalty. Even if he’s fast tracked to the majors which I’m guessing is 3 yrs since that’s the time frame that the Reds front office is bandying about as the culmination of our rebuild, he’ll be 26 yrs old. If he takes any longer than that he might be a bust or at the very least, an old rookie when he finally does break into the minors. With this belief going around that players decline in performance at the age of 30, we might only have this guy for 1-4 yrs before he turns 30 and then we’ll probably trade him to get the best value we can for him. Having trouble seeing the smartness in this signing. Now, he could certainly surprise and skyrocket through the system and become a good hitter AND defender. And the Reds could very well keep this guy into his 30’s if he does take a few years or more to break into the majors. But with logic ruling our front office’s thinking with this rebuild and the trades they made, I don’t see the Reds keeping him beyond 30 which means that we won’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labor for very long.

  9. And one more thing, I hope the Reds reverse this trend of focusing on speed and defense and mix it up with some high OBP & Pwr prospects. Speed, defense & Pitching are very important pieces of a championship team, but so are OBP & Pwr. IF this trend continues we’re gonna wind up with an offense that won’t be able to score a lot of runs & probably won’t have the ability to come from behind. That will result in a lot of close games and no decisions for our SP’s. Don’t see how we’ll be a winning or even championship team with a weak offense.

  10. WOM. (Waste of money). 7 mil for a no-hitter shortstop? Could have given Paul Janish 1 million and got the same.

  11. 4 xbh in over 300 plate appearances, that’s a pitcher, a light hitting pitcher at that.

  12. The Reds getting penalized next year for going over their allotment this year on a player who projects to be a utilituy player really hurts. The Reds could have had some decent signings this year, and with their poor record this season, been at the top of the spending allotment for international players again next year. When the Cubs, Yankees and other teams exceeded their allotment, they went over it by a ton, realizing the penalty does not get any worse once the limit is exceeded.

  13. The issue has come up with Hamilton and perhaps now with the Cuban shortstop.
    Not every player on your starting 8 will be elite defenders and elite hitters. You can afford 1 -2 elite gold glove caliber defensive players who are weak hitters if you have 5-6 thumpers in your line up who hit for avg, get on base and hit for power. The problem with the Reds is they don’t have enough good hitters to compensate for multiple offensive holes. If you had Shin Soo Choo and Mesoraco -the 2014 versions…… and Votto any year …..and Winker’s projection….. and the 2016 versions of Bruce and Duvall , it would be ok.

    • I think you’re correct in saying the Reds can get by with 1-2 light hitting, low OBP/SLG guys with elite defense. Of course, when you already have Peraza and Hamilton penciled into future line ups, and the pitcher’s spot, adding another no-hit/no-power/no-walk defensive wiz doesn’t make sense. That’s nearly half the line up (4/9) that we can realistically expect to offer little value or production from the plate. Not going to win many games with that philosophy.

      • It seems like a risky signing, but let me play devil’s advocate: Shortstops are evidently in short supply, it’s too early to conclude that Perazza won’t provide value with his offense, and BH has shown signs this year of becoming less futile at the plate. And their first draft pick is projected to be a good hitter, good OBP guy, I think. add Cozart’s age and possibly imminent departure (which will sadden me), Perazza’s ability to play multiple positions and the certainty that Phillips and his elite(until this year)defense will be gone one way or the other before the Reds are contenders again, and you have a rationale for the signing. Remember, I’m advocating for Old Ned here, not speaking from conviction.

    • That’s what a lot of us are saying: Hamilton, Peraza and now Rodriguez. The Reds are trending towards speed & defense and should be mixing it up with high OPS and/or power. The only prospect we’ve gotten recently that fits the power part is Duvall. We need to focus on high OPS prospects.

  14. Is it true Lazarito signed for $3 million and change?

  15. I know there is no way of knowing for sure, but does this appear to be Jocketty or William’s move?

  16. I think folks should keep in mind Peraza just turned 22 and could improve. He isn’t guaranteed to be a low walk low power guy. He probably will be, but he isn’t a waife like Billy. He might be able to develop some pop.

    • Yup, Todd Frazier for example was still at Rutgers at 22, and then spent five years in the minors before reaching the majors for good.

  17. Brandon Phillips is playing tonight.
    Brandon Phillips is batting 6th in the lineup behind Bruce and Suarez.

    That is all. (Duvall is off tonight)

    • Full Lineup:

      Cozart SS
      Peraza LF
      Votto 1B
      Bruce RF
      Suarez 3B
      Phillips 2B
      Hamilton CF
      Barnhart C
      Straily P

    • maybe the persistence and truth and voice of RLN is being heard.

  18. Good thing the Reds rely on other players for international scouting otherwise we’d be clueless…

  19. It is puzzling why the Reds signed Alfredo Rodriguez for so much money when other MLB teams made international signings for less. This a reminder of the surprise I felt when Votto was given his huge contract since the Reds, up until then, had never been known as big spenders. Hopefully the FO has insight about this young shortstop that we do not have.

  20. Now it’s just getting comical. I don’t really know what else to say.

  21. Don’t we already have enough speed/defense guys that can’t hit? The front office might want to start scouting Australian Shepherds. They’re really fast and can track frisbees and balls like nobodies business. They can’t hit work a darn but who cares!

  22. Are there normally this many naysayyers in a rebuild, or is this rebuild actually going as poorly as the majority of these posters indicate?

    • Very insightful question. Perhaps a reader can calculate a weighted-naysayers-created plus (wNC+) stat for this rebuild, the plus of course is a control for other organizations’ fans during a rebuild (Cubs, Royals, Astros, etc). Perhaps we’re naysaying at an above average level!

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About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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