Padres News: Alfredo Rodriguez Looking For MLB Home

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Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote yesterday that 21 year old Cuban shortstop, Alfredo Rodriguez, is leaving Cuba for the US and looking for an MLB home, could the San Diego Padres be interested?

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Immediately, the words “Cuban” and “Shortstop” would make me suspect yes; especially knowing AJ Preller‘s history of going after International free agents/prospects.

So, is he any good? Well, Rodriguez was named Rookie of the Year in the Serie Nacional (Cuban National Series) this year and according to Badler, while hit hitting still needs some improvement, he was arguably the best defensive shortstop in Cuba.

"He’s an athletic, agile defender with smooth, fluid actions. He’s extremely light on his feet and has good body control and range, with an average arm. At around 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Rodriguez is a plus runner who ranked third in Serie Nacional in stolen bases with 12 steals in 16 attempts.– Ben Badler"

So, while it sounds like Rodriguez is defensively dominant, offensively, he still has some question marks. Badler predicts that if Rodriguez does make it to The Show, he’ll likely never hit higher than the bottom of the lineup – where our shortstops hit already.

This last season he hit .265/.301/.284 with three doubles, one triple, no home runs, 11 walks and 38 strikeouts in 304 plate appearances/84 games for La Isla De La Juventud – I like their logo.

So, would he be a fit for the Padres? If the Friars didn’t have offensive questions marks at second and third base already, I’d be fine with going after Rodriguez for his defensiveness alone. But, it doesn’t sound like he would be that much of an improvement over Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes. If he could slash .265 in the pro, then I would definitely try to snatch him up, but who knows if that’ll happen.

Badler also reports that Rodriguez will first have to establish residency in another country, then apply to the commissioner’s office for free agency – which could take several months – before he can sign with a MLB team. So even if the Padres do sign him, we won’t see him in a Padres uniform this season. Rodriguez is also subject to the international bonus pools but he’s old enough that MLB’s registration policy does not apply to him, which Badler explains, should make him eligible to sign during the 2015-16 signing period, which begins on July 2; big thanks to Ben Badler for breaking down all this international signing mumbo-jumbo, which I know absolutely nothing about.

So, what do you guys think? Do you think the Padres should go after Rodriguez? Initially, I would say no, but I think the Padres really need to start hording international prospects into our farm system. If we can get him for a good price, why not?

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