Left-handed pitcher Omar Luis Rodriguez, 19, and the Yankees have agreed on a Minor League deal worth an estimated $4-5 million, according to an industry source.
Rodriguez, who projects to be a starter, burst onto the international scene during the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship when he struck out eight batters during a complete-game, 144-pitch outing to eliminate Team USA in the semifinals. He led Cuba to a bronze medal and was named to the competition's all-tournament team.
The southpaw has to sign with a Major League club before July 2, or he will be subject to new CBA guidelines that will limit spending on international prospects to $2.9 million per team before penalties kick in.
Rodriguez, pitcher Armando Rivero and with Cuban outfielders Henry Urrutia and Gerald Sanchez, were declared free agents at the beginning of the month when outfielder Jorge Soler also came on to the market. Soler, considered the second-best Cuban prospect behind Yoenis Cespedes this year, signed a nine-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs last week. Vespers signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the A's in February.
Yasel Puig, who recently defected from Cuba, is in Mexico and seeking residence, the first step before he can be declared a free agent and sign with a Major League club.