Best landing spots for Richard Rodriguez after being non-tendered by the Braves

Richard Rodriguez
A drop-off in spin rates led to Richard Rodriguez not being tendered a contract. Photo from the Atlanta Journal.

The Atlanta Braves didn’t tender him, so Richard Rodriguez‘ free agent 2021-22 saga is officially underway. Well, sort of, as the lockout will prevent teams from contacting him until team owners and the MLBPA resolve their negotiation issues.

Richard Rodriguez free agent 2021-22

The Dominican right-hander was a bit of a surprise cut by the Braves. He finished the season with a 5-2 record, posting an ERA of 2.94 with a WHIP of 0.933 across 64.1 innings of work. He also logged 14 saves with 42 strikeouts and just 10 bases on balls.

Those numbers should be quite appealing for multiple bullpen-needy teams. So, let’s take a look at the best Rodriguez’s free agency fits.

5. Reds

The Cincinnati Reds, albeit not huge contenders, had a shot at making the playoffs for most of last season. Unfortunately, their bullpen put them in a tough spot more often than not, which is why that’s the main area of improvement for them ahead of this season.

The Reds bullpen had the fourth-worst ERA in all of baseball (4.99). They had a WHIP of 1.38, allowing 507 hits, 316 earned runs, 92 home runs (second-worst in the league), and walked 282 hitters. It doesn’t get much worst than that, so they should pick up the phone and try to sign him.

4. Nationals

The Washington Nationals were one of the biggest sellers of the past season. But even so, they’re not that far off from having a competitive team that could make a big splash in the National League. Their biggest issue, again, is the bullpen.

Richard Rodriguez is one of the best relievers available in free agency and he should draw plenty of attention from the nation’s capital. The National’s bullpen combined for a 5.08 ERA (second-worst in the league) and a WHIP of 1.44. They allowed 657 hits, 90 home runs, and walked 254 hitters. That’s just unacceptable.

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3. Red Sox

Alex Cora didn’t seem to trust the Boston Red Sox‘s bullpen during the playoffs at all, and for very good reason. They were the fourth-worst bullpen in the postseason with an ERA of 5.23. They had a whopping WHIP of 1.33 and allowed 53 hits in the playoffs alone.

Their numbers in the regular season weren’t much better, either. Word around the league is that Chaim Bloom is looking to address that issue right away, so the Red Sox are clearly one of Rodriguez’s free agency fits. Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts and their contract extensions will be the biggest priority for them, though.

2. Angels

The Los Angeles Angels made a huge splash by adding Noah Syndergaard in the offseason. Then again, whether he’ll be able to go back to his usual level is yet to be seen. Moreover, their rotation wasn’t the biggest issue for them, it was the bullpen.

The Halos ranked near the bottom of the league when it came to their relievers. They had a 4.59 ERA with a WHIP of 1.40. The bullpen allowed 77 home runs, 613 hits, and 329 runs. Shohei Ohtani is wonderful and all, but he can’t close out games as well, so they need more help.

1. Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies had one of the worst bullpens in the Majors all year long. So, obviously, adding one of the best relievers available in free agency has to be a must for them if they actually want to compete any time soon. The fit here is obvious.

The Phillies’ bullpen posted a 4.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.39 while allowing 294 earned runs and 548 hits, including 89 home runs. Regardless of their somewhat solid offense and consistent starting pitching, the Phillies blew games over and over this season, so they definitely need to make a run at Rodriguez.

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