Why isn’t the Blue Jays’ deal with Yariel Rodríguez official yet?

Visa issues apparently still the hold up.

After a slow January around the Blue Jays’ hot stove, things heated up towards the end of the month with the signing of Justin Turner, who can provide some more thump to the 2024 Blue Jays’ offence. But savvy fans might also be wondering what’s the latest in the saga of their pursuit of Cuban righty Yariel Rodríguez?

MLB writer Francys Romero, who was early on reporting that the Blue Jays had indeed signed Y-Rod, posted today that the 26-year-old is still waiting in the Dominican Republic for a visa that would allow him to take his physical in either Toronto or Florida, and for Toronto to make the deal official assuming everything checks out.

Romero notes that “Rodriguez needs a visa from both countries but is expected to take the physical in the first of the two countries to issue his visa.”

For anyone who’s ever been stuck in visa purgatory, that can be a stressful and excruciatingly slow process. On the positive side, he’s able to workout under the Dominican sun, and was able to avoid Toronto in January, which allegedly only had 30 hours of sunshine in addition to snow, ice and an Arctic vortex chill!

In terms of housekeeping, this certainly explains why Y-Rod hasn’t been added to the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster yet. After adding Justin Turner to the roster this week, the 40-man is now full. Which means they’ll have to trade or designate a pitcher when they do officially sign Rodríguez to the four-year, $32M contract.

Why a pitcher? Well, the current 40-man already includes 21 pitchers, but only 2 catchers, 5 outfielders, and 12 infielders (including Turner). Rodríguez would make 22 pitchers, which is too many relative to the number of catchers and outfielders on the current roster in particular.

A full 40-man also means if they plan to sign any more free agents, someone would have to be traded or designated for assignment. Related to this, current 40-man pitchers Trevor Richards and Mitch White are both out of minor league options, so will have to be passed through waivers or traded if they are healthy and don’t make the MLB roster this spring.

We wish Yariel all the best as he waits for a visa to travel north. With only a few weeks now until pitchers and catchers report, let’s hope this gets resolved soon so he can report on time to Dunedin and start dealing for the Blue Jays!