It’s the first significant splash of Major League Baseball free agency, and it comes on the heels of the 28-year-old pitcher rejecting a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer from Boston.
Rodriguez’s new deal with Detroit is worth $77 million guaranteed but can reach $80 million based on incentives, a source told Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. The contract reportedly includes an opt-out after the second year as well as a no-trade clause.
MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes reports Rodriguez is guaranteed $28 million over the first two years of the deal. Therefore, if the left-hander opts out after 2023, he’ll leave three years and $49 million on the table, a realistic possibility if E-Rod performs well over the next two seasons and in turn sets himself up for another lucrative, long-term contract on the open market.
Rodriguez, who turns 29 in April, is coming off a 2021 season in which he went 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA, a 3.32 FIP and a 1.39 WHIP in 32 appearances (31 starts; 157 2/3 innings). The underlying metrics suggest Rodriguez was the victim of some bad luck — largely due to some defensive struggles by the Red Sox — and thus it’s easy to see why he generated such interest in free agency.
Rodriguez posted the best strikeout rate (10.6 K/9) and walk rate (2.7 BB/9) of his career in 2021, an encouraging sign after the lefty missed all of 2020 while recovering from myocarditis, a heart condition stemming from a bout with COVID-19.
The Red Sox acquired Rodriguez from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Andrew Miller at the 2014 MLB trade deadline. That move sure turned out well for Boston, even though Rodriguez experienced both highs and lows during his time with the franchise.