Alfredo Rodriguez  (listed as Aldredo Rodriguez on Baseball Reference) has reportedly signed with the Cincinnati Reds, according to MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez, who tweeted this:

There are so many things that need to be addressed here, but first let’s talk about Rodriguez. He’s listed at 5′ 10″ and 180 lbs. At that size, he’s kind of the guy you’d imagine. Very strong on defense, particularly at shortstop where he’s got quick reaction time and strong range. He’s also a plus runner.

At the plate though, there are some serious questions. In his only season in Cuba he posted this line as a 20-year-old:

PA H 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
304 70 3 1 0 11 38 .265 .301 .284

None of those are typos. Four extra-base hits in 304 plate appearances with a .284 slugging percentage. He’s certainly young for that level, but that’s anemic. Not that he’s in any way comparable to Yasiel Puig, but in the same league as a 19-year-old, Puig smacked 19 doubles, six triples and 17 home runs while slugging .581.

Scouting reports suggest there’s not much room for power growth. Maybe he can develop into a little more gap power, but gains in home runs seem to be very minimal. His swing is considered very “armsy” without much use of his lower half. Perhaps the Reds can work on his swing and get things moving in the right direction and get some more out of his bat than what he seemed to show in Cuba at the plate.

As a player, I’m just not sure how he projects to be a starter. He’s going to have to be Omar Vizquel or Rey Ordonez type of good defensively if he’s going to carry a bat like that without serious improvements along the way.

The signing cost the Reds a reported $6M, which puts them well over their bonus allotment. That means that they are essentially paying $12M in total for this signing after the fine paid to MLB for going over, and they are giving up the rights to sign international players for the next two seasons. They however can continue to sign players until this signing period ends in May.

The only way that this makes sense, is if the Reds continue to go out and spend tons of money on more international players. They need to load up and make it count given that they will not be allowed to sign anyone else for the next two years for over $300,000. There are still some big names out there, and they won’t be cheap (though perhaps the 16-year-olds still out there could be slightly cheaper than Rodriguez). If this is the only move the Reds make on the market, it’s about as confusing as it can possibly be. If this is just the first step to spending a whole lot of money on international players and boosting the farm system with sheer monetary force, then this is a lot more understandable. But, it still seems like a massive overpay for this particular player.

Update:

So, in the rush to get this article published, I forgot to add in something rather important to the story. With the Cincinnati Reds having to now forfeit the ability to sign players in the 2016 and 2017 international signing periods because of this signing, they are essentially wasting what is going to be the second highest allotment pool for the 2016 season. Given how the 2016 season is likely to play out, they are also probably giving up another Top 5 allotment pool in 2017. The Reds absolutely, must make the rest of this signing period count with all of that taken into account.

48 Responses

  1. Gaffer

    What is wrong with this teams leadership? Lazarito will be in next years pool so he’s not a possibility now.

      • James Walker

        Yes, Lazarito was declared an FA today. He can be signed as of 10 Feb 2016

  2. Joe

    Reds just love these fast, skinny, punch less guys. Which is perfect in GABP.

    After watching B Hamilton for 2 years, who really wants another? We just traded for 2 more guys like this if I remember.

  3. Brad Konerman

    How does Rodriguez compare to a Luis Gonzalez? Sound similar.

    How about Trahan or Daal?

    $6M is about what the Reds will pay #2 pick in draft in 2016. Can Rodriguez compare to Alex Bregman or Dansby Swanson? Kris Bryant?

    • Hoyce

      With penalty that $6M turns into $12M. Don’t forget that. Reds really want to corner the market on young middle infielders that can hit 4 HRs a year

      • Brad Konerman

        You beat me to it. I understand signing International FA’s includes overpaying, but that seems drastic.

    • Jimmer

      Swanson, Bergman, Bryant, etc. Would get much more $$ on open market. Not an apples to apples comp.

  4. DaveCT

    So, next year, when our pool allowance goes up due to our poor record, we would be limiting ourselves to prospects of 250,000 or lower? I would say not possible, as no one could be that stupid. There is more to come this year.

    • Hoyce

      Now jocketty says there is not a deal done. This seems to be a common theme this yr

  5. James Walker

    I thought the tax was only on the overage. Are the Reds at the limit or already over before this deal (if it happens)?

    • Troy McKevitt

      This would put them over the limit and if it does they better make a big splash for the remainder of the signing period… I just don’t understand why the organization is so enamored with this offensive profile.

    • Doug Gray

      They were reportedly almost right at their limit when this signing happened. So they are paying almost all of it back towards MLB.

  6. Mongo

    Mongo considering staying in cave for long time. If anyone give the Walt Jocketty my address, Mongo will de-friend them from Myspace page.

    • Doug Gray

      Tough to say. Statistically speaking, probably not. Igleisas had 11 doubles and 4 triples as a 17-year-old in the same league that Rodriguez had 3 and 1 in at age 20.

  7. dale

    Even if the Reds are considering more international players before May this would still make little sense. Only way I see this deal making sense would be if the Reds scouting team saw magic that others are not. Definitely sounds like the second coming of BHam.

    • Doug Gray

      Billy Hamilton showed significantly more power at the same age than this guy did.

  8. Jimmer

    Must be a master with the glove, because those 4 xbh’s won him ROY in the Cuban League.

    • Hoyce

      Maybe he’s the only qualifier that didn’t try to defect. Lol

      • Doug Gray

        That’s why one guy wasn’t eligible who would have run away with the award.

      • Adam

        That’s exactly what happened. Yusnier Diaz slashed .348/.447/.440 but he left Cuba almost immediately after the season ended. They weren’t going to give the award to someone who left the country, so it went to Rodriguez instead.

  9. Mo

    The only way this makes sense is if they land Lazarito. He has been compared to impacts like Bryant and Harper. Anything short of that we just gave up atleast 5 premium talents in Latin America over the next 2 signing periods.

  10. Fish

    I love the job the reds have done drafting and scouting players. With that being said, this is almost worse than zero impact unless the reds go after Lazarito and Sierra. Honestly, I can’t see why any team would spend $12 million on this guy even if he is the second coming of Omar Visquel. We’ve already seen what happens to a team with gold glove caliber defenders who don’t hit and you have to think that’s the absolute ceiling for this guy.

    What its with the reds’ plan to hoard all the middle infielders with no power?

  11. MK

    Before Tom mentions it, he is very similar in size, stature and scouting report to Cuban shortstop Leo Cardenas. The scouting report is similar to Venezuekan David Concepcion who in his first Spring Training Pete Rose said he was too skinny to pull a muscle, he could only pull a bone. We have to hope like Leo and David once they work on A-Rods nutrition and conditioning he will fill out and add some power to his offense. Leo and David worked out pretty well.

    • Norwood Nate

      My best guess would be Adv.-A. With Daal and Vincej playing SS already, with Blandino and Peraza playing a little of both, and Juan Perez/minor league FA filler (Triunfel?) filling in spots behind them, I just don’t see why he’d be pushed.

      This would allow Luis Gonzalez another year at Dayton.

      • MK

        Nate I think Gonzalez need another year at Dayton. He was probably a year early last year.

  12. Dan

    Doug, I’m glad you pointed out the fact that they forfeited their “massive” pools they would have been eligible for over the next 2 years, bad teams do not get better without putting a focus on difference makers and/or play makers, if they were going to do this there were significantly superior players that left the board while they feared the tax penalty and at the end of the day this signing reminds me of when Bowden signed Alejandro Diaz, while blowing his international budget and losing Miguel Cabrera who’s uncle worked for the Reds and tried to hand deliver him to us, just another footnote in the history of our teams poor decision making, and I would be shocked that this signing will be looked back on as one of our difference making building blocks

  13. Norwood Nate

    One would like to think that the Reds wouldn’t overpay for a player like this, that’s so far away. One would like to think if they blow past their allotment, they will make a mad dash to grab up any talent they can sign this year before being penalized the next two years. One would hope some of that excess cash they’re saving after trading Chapman and Frazier (and more?) would be re-invested into their farm system by spending on internationals.

    But with the Reds FO, it’s hard to believe they won’t just pony up too much money for Billy Hamilton-lite and be forced out of the international market for two years when they’ll have more money to spend than most clubs. I’d like to be proven wrong.

  14. AlphaZero

    Can a team still trade away their bonus pool money during a signing period when they are under such restrictions? I do agree that this signing only makes sense if there are at least a couple other big international signings on the horizon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. I don’t think the Reds’ FO is as inept as some seem to believe.

    • Doug Gray

      Yes, the Reds could trade plenty of their international money for the 2016 season.

      • AlphaZero

        I wonder what $5MM in bonus pool money is really “worth” in a trade. I know there have been some trades that involved international bonus pool money over the past couple of years, but I’m struggling to remember specifics. Seems like the money would likely be used as a light sweetener rather than as a main part of any kind of deal.

  15. Mj

    I’m beyond disappointed in this front office . One bozo move after another , I dread the day we hired jockey.the previous gm( kriviski) had done a nice job building up program, jockety ran it into the ground. He even came pretty close to messing up the cueto deal. If you’ve got 12 million to give to this kid I would have kept Frazier,and chapman then traded them July when there value would have been higher instead of selling at lowest possible value .

  16. Patrick

    This is just icing on the cake of a bad off season. I am so disappointed. The only player we got this off season that I like was getting Schebler (a smart buy low move).
    this last week I went back to see how the Cubs/Theo built their team, They made smart moves that increased their talent level Example sign FA Feldman then turn around and trade him at trade deadline to Orioles for Arrieta and Strop. The Reds were doing the same thing with Simon, Latos, Byrd, Cueto and Leake trades. but this off season derailed that momentum.

  17. B-town Fan

    Here is a link to video of him playing in Cuba, you’ll have to copy and paste I couldn’t get it to hyper link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLG5YLVtito
    A lot of routine plays with a few really outstanding plays, he has a lot of range. His swing is not that of a slap hitter, pretty solid so there is something there to work with, hopefully he can develop. Also don’t remember were, but I saw him listed at 5′ 10′ 195lb instead of 180.

  18. Vic

    Doug, do your contacts in the Reds organization understand how bad this signing looks and the impact on 2016/2017? Or do they really feel Rodriquez is a better investment than Lucious Fox or Eddy Julio Martinez?

    • Doug Gray

      Right now – the Reds won’t really comment on anything at all because technically, he’s not a Red until the ink is on the paper and it’s approved by MLB. Which is why despite multiple sources reporting it’s a done deal, the Reds are saying it’s not and that he is a player of interest.