The Detroit Tigers on Monday reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with Eduardo Rodriguez, meaning several other American League teams now will need to explore backup plans.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Monday in wake of the left-hander joining the Tigers that the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels all were involved in the Rodriguez market over the last week.
As such, it’s fair to assume those three AL clubs will pivot and pursue other rotation options.
This report should come as little surprise. The Red Sox, who employed Rodriguez for the past seven-plus seasons, extended a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer, ensuring they’d receive draft pick compensation if E-Rod signed elsewhere. They seemingly had genuine interest in retaining Rodriguez, though, as they also reportedly offered the veteran southpaw a multiyear contract.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, face some rotation uncertainty with both Robbie Ray and Steven Matz hitting free agency. And the Angels, perpetually in need of starting pitching, recently were rumored to be interested in Rodriguez as they look to take advantage of the Mike Trout-Shohei Ohtani era.
The Tigers didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, as they, too, had been linked to Rodriguez before news of the agreement broke Monday. But it’s a notable move, nonetheless, for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014 yet already boasts several intriguing arms.
It’ll be interesting to see where exactly the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Angels will look with Rodriguez landing in Motown. There’s no shortage of quality starting pitching available in free agency this offseason. And it might just be a matter of time before each of those teams makes a splash 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). He posted the best strikeout rate (10.6 K/9) and walk rate (2.7 BB/9) of his career, one year after missing 2020 due to myocarditis, a heart condition stemming from his bout with COVID-19.
Rodriguez’s new contract with Detroit, worth a maximum of $80 million, reportedly includes a no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2023.