Who says you can’t go home again?
The Cleveland Indians have decided to non-tender Pitcher Jefry Rodriguez.
A few weeks after being non-tendered by the Tribe, the Washington Nationals brought Rodriguez back to his former team.
The Nats offered the 6-6 righty a minor league contract with an invite to next year’s Spring Training.
Let’s take a closer look at Jefry Rodriguez, his stint with the Indians, and some thoughts on why Cleveland chose to non-tender him.
Jefry Rodriguez’s Career B.C. (Before Cleveland)
Jefry Rodriguez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where he played mostly shortstop.
However, Washington saw that he had excellent arm strength and decided to sign him as a pitcher shortly after he turned eighteen in 2012.
Rodriguez had a great start to his professional baseball career by posting a paltry 2.93 earned run average in his first season with the Dominican Summer League Nationals.
The tall right-hander toiled in the Minor Leagues for six total seasons but gradually worked his way to the Majors in 2018 for the Nationals.
Rodriguez made his first big-league start on June 19th of that year against the Baltimore Orioles.
In late November of 2018 Rodriguez was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a deal that sent Yan Gomes to Washington.
We have acquired RHP Jefry Rodriguez, RF Daniel Johnson, and a player to be named later from the Nationals in exchange for C Yan Gomes. pic.twitter.com/kLm7Bdz80n
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) December 1, 2018
Rodriguez’s stint with The Tribe
Jefry Rodriguez spent two seasons with the Cleveland Indians, but did not pitch at all for the Tribe in the virus-shortened 2020 campaign.
Rodriguez made eight starts for Cleveland during the 2019 season and had two appearances out of the bullpen.
Rodriguez’s record that year was 1-5 with a 4.63 ERA and his season was cut short due to injury.
A nagging shoulder strain caused Rodriguez to miss half of the 2019 season.
A sore back caused him to miss all of the 2020 season.
Why Did Cleveland Non-Tender Rodriguez?
As painful as it is to say, Baseball is a Business, and there is no room for feelings in business!
The Tribe chose to let Rodriguez go simply because he had some bad luck injuries.
Though the young righty was with Cleveland for two years, he only technically pitched half of a season for the Indians.
It would not have cost the Tribe much to re-sign Rodriguez.
His salary was just north of 500K for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, the Cleveland Indians front office and scouts probably look at Rodriguez as injury-prone.
Once a baseball player (especially a pitcher) gets that label it is hard for Major League clubs to see past it.
What Does the Future Hold for Rodriguez?
Will Jefry Rodriguez resurrect his career with his old team in Washington?
Will Cleveland regret not keeping him on the roster for one more season?
Both of these questions are extremely difficult to answer.
So much depends on Rodriguez’s overall health.
Has he fully healed from the devastating back and shoulder injuries?