Cuba Culture

Yanks take aim at Cuba’s big gun - Maels Rodriguez

Posted November 27, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.


While Curt Schilling is talking turkey with the Red Sox, the Yankees go into the Thanksgiving holiday with their offseason plan intact. After two days of meetings with George Steinbrenner in Tampa, the Bombers’ strategy is simple: pick up pitching, an outfield bat, maybe a second baseman and then even more pitching.

The names are familiar - Andy Pettitte, first and foremost, followed by Javier Vazquez, Bartolo Colon and Kevin Millwood. But an additional possibility developed further yesterday, when the agent for Cuban ace Maels Rodriguez announced that the 24-year-old righty has officially defected to El Salvador. Rodriguez reportedly throws over 100 mph and his agent, Henry Vilar, expects to talk with several teams, including the Yankees.

“(Rodriguez) is supposed to be a huge stud,” said one baseball insider. “No surprise that the Yankees are looking at him.”

After Pettitte, the Yankees’ top choice is Vazquez (several executives have concerns about Colon’s conditioning and attitude), though it’s still unclear if Expos GM Omar Minaya is going to move his righthanded ace. If Minaya chooses to deal, the Yankees are prepared to offer Nick Johnson, whom George Steinbrenner has made expendable anyway in a plan that would move Alfonso Soriano to the outfield and Bernie Williams to DH.

The Yanks could then look into obtaining free agent second baseman Luis Castillo or Kaz Matsui.

Sheffield figures to join Soriano and Hideki Matsui there, and Rufus Williams, the ex-Atlanta slugger’s adviser, said yesterday that talks continue to move along.

“I don’t know what a holiday is - my phone keeps ringing all the time, regardless of the day,” said Williams. “Anything could happen at any time. We’re always listening.”

Yanks GM Brian Cashman is also pursuing help for the Bomber bullpen. The Yankees have discussed pursuing Paul Quantrill and Todd Worrell. They are also looking at trying to trade for San Francisco reliever Felix Rodriguez.

Of course, if Schilling is unable to reach agreement with the Red Sox - it’s likely he won’t make a decision until shortly before tomorrow’s 5 p.m. deadline - then Steinbrenner will be very interested.

“I’m sure he’d like to (have another chance),” said one baseball source. “But there’s no way that the Red Sox would not come back without a deal now that everyone knows the trade is out there. They’ll get it done.”

Member Comments

On April 04, 2005, Manolito wrote:

Soy un niņo de once aņos, de Trinidad, SS en Cuba.  Quiero saber mas de Maels Rodriguez. Ya estoy viviendo en MÈxico y jugando beisbol.  Quiero ser lo proximo Maels Rodriguez.  Suerte!