Eduardo Rodriguez wasn’t a free agent for long. The southpaw has penned a five-year deal worth $77 million with the Detroit Tigers, according to Jeff Passan.
Rodriguez was the youngest top-tier arm on the market. Detroit was known to be on the lookout for an experienced starter to slot alongside its young rotation led by Casey Mize and Matt Manning. Rodriguez fits the bill.
Free agent signing analysis: Eduardo Rodriguez to Tigers
The Tigers impressed to go 77-85 in 2021. After a long, often painful, rebuild, Detroit is on the come up, building around young talent and with plenty of money to splash in free agency. Picking up free agent Eduardo Rodriguez is likely just the first step in the overhaul of this roster.
Rodriguez had recently turned down a qualifying offer from the Boston Red Sox. There’s no shock in that, of course, given the contracts he was projected for and what he’s ultimately earned. Detroit will give up draft compensation, but that’s clearly not their priority right now, as the organization switches gears in the 2020s.
Boston receives a pick just before the third round. Detroit lands a pitcher whose talent has not always translated into results but posted a 3.32 FIP in 2021. The results were not pretty for Rodriguez, yet there was an expectation teams would bank on an improvement with a better defense behind him in 2021.
It’s worth noting that Rodriguez also has an opt out after two years of this deal. Returning to the market at 30 years old could prove tempting for the Venezuelan. It’s impossible to know how likely that opt out is, particularly with Rodriguez’s inconsistencies on the mound and injury history.
There’s a lot to like about this for the Tigers. They have added experience while still getting a pitcher whose best years should be ahead of him. Going for a veteran like Justin Verlander or Zack Greinke was an option, but Rodriguez makes the most sense for them.
Detroit got an established arm without the scary innings totals or a vast contract. This is an early offseason win for the Tigers.