Cuban pitcher Yariel Rodriguez (26) apologized belatedly after signing a two-year contract renewal with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese professional baseball team, but suddenly disappeared before the start of the season. However, he still has no intention of returning to the team due to his intention to unilaterally break the contract. An absurd move. 

On the 27th (Korean time), Rodriguez posted a photo of him pitching in a Chunichi uniform on his SNS and said, “This is a beautiful memory for me. I would like to express my gratitude to all the fans who supported me as a Chunichi player for 3 years. He apologizes for suddenly abandoning the contract.” 

“I decided to follow my dream of playing in the major leagues,” said Rodriguez. Unfortunately, this is not possible in Cuba. As always, I believe that if you have passion for baseball, conviction, and self-leadership, you will be able to achieve that dream.” 

Rodriguez signed a two-year contract with Chunichi at an annual salary of 200 million won in February, and participated in the World Base Classic (WBC) as a member of the Cuban national team, contributing to advancing to the semifinals. As he failed to advance to the finals, he temporarily returned to Cuba and then decided to enter Japan on March 29, but did not board the scheduled flight. 

Reporter Frances Romero of the All Baseball Writers Association (BBWAA), who is well versed in Central and South American baseball news, found out that he was exiled with the goal of advancing to the major leagues, which puzzled Chunichi. It is absurd that he defected before the start of the season, but the club was not even contacted. Earlier this month, a video of him doing personal training in the Dominican Republic was released through reporter Romero. 

Rodriguez, who belatedly announced the current situation through social media, apologized to fans and contacted the club. According to Japanese media, including ‘Sports Nippon’, Hiroyuki Kato, CEO of Chunichi, said, “I got in touch with the player. About last week, the representative of the player contacted the foreigner. A few days later, a letter from a player came to me. He owed his place to the team, and it was written that he wanted to pursue his dreams,” he explained. He also asked about his intention to return to the team, but Rodriguez was determined to take on the challenge. 

However, Chunichi does not freely release Rodriguez’s identity. Representative Kato said, “The contract has not been terminated. Right now, he is a player under our control. He can say that he has broken the contract, but his contract is still alive. In case of destruction, public disclosure is required. In the future, we will consult with the Cuban government and move forward.” Contracts for Cuban national players playing in Japan are made under the approval of the Cuban government. It was also reported that the Cuban Baseball Federation had charged Rodriguez with a penalty of 10 million dollars. If Rodriguez accepts this, there is a possibility that the status problem will be resolved.  ㅋㅋㅋ벳

If the relationship with Chunichi is not settled, Rodriguez’s advancement to the major leagues will inevitably be delayed. In the past, there were Cuban players who broke contracts with Japanese teams and entered the major leagues after exile, but there was no case where the main players of the first team cut off contact and disappeared right before the season opener like Rodriguez. ‘Reckless sin’ cannot be applied. Amidst the bad news of Rodriguez, Chunichi has 8 wins and 12 losses and is in the 6th place in the Central League. 

Chunichi fans also said, despite Rodriguez’s apology, ”Following your dreams is free, but it’s a breach of contract. It should never be accepted’, ‘I understand the situation in Cuba, but we must respond strictly to the breach of contract’, ‘A story that will end with an apology, nor will it be glorified as a dream’, ‘The Chunichi club’s plan has gone awry. Critical reactions such as ‘We must demand corresponding compensation’ were the main ones. 

Rodriguez, who was registered as an official player in August of the same year after signing a contract with Chunichi in January 2020, recorded a total of 79 games (175⅓ innings) in Japan for 3 years, 10 wins, 10 losses, 39 holds, an average ERA of 3.03, and 188 strikeouts. . Last year, when he switched positions from starter to bullpen, he threw up to 161 km of fastballs in 56 games (54⅔ innings), 6 wins, 2 losses, 39 holds, an average ERA of 1.15, and 60 strikeouts, and was selected as the best midfielder. He also plays well in the WBC, and major league scouts predict that he will be able to sign a contract worth 50 million dollars for 5 to 6 years.

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