Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez wants to stay in Boston. He said that much to MLB.com’s Nathalie Alonso at the 12th annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic in Miami on Sunday.
“I would love to stay with Boston,” said Rodríguez, in Spanish. “If they offer me an extension, and we come to an agreement, I would love that.”
Rodriguez, who turns 27 in April, still has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining, hence the talks of a possible extension. He is projected to earn $9.5 million in 2020.
Coming off a 2019 campaign in which he finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award Voting thanks to posting a career-best 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts over 34 starts and 203 1/3 innings of work, Rodriguez has found himself in an intriguing spot this winter.
“It was a very important step for me, because for the first time I was able to pitch an entire season,” the Venezuela native said of his 2019 season Sunday. “That was my goal when the season started, 30 starts and throw more than 200 innings, and I was able to do it. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old prospect, from the Baltimore Orioles in July 2014 in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, who went on to sign a four-year, $36 million deal with the New York Yankees that offseason.
Because of the fact he started his professional career in the Orioles organization, I was quite surprised when I read that Rodriguez said that Boston is where he began his career and that he, “would love to finish it there.”
Perhaps Rodriguez is speaking in regard to just his major-league career, but an interesting, and perhaps heartfelt, comment nonetheless.
As we all know, the Red Sox want to cut payroll while still remaining competitive in 2020, so it might be in new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s best interest to try and buy out Rodriguez’s last two years of arbitration while also locking down the lefty for a number of years at a decent rate after that.
A similar situation took place in Chicago last March, when the Cubs and right-hander Kyle Hendricks agreed to terms on a four-year, $55 million extension that does not take effect until 2020 and has a team option for 2023 attached to it.
Granted, Hendricks had one, not two years of arbitration remaining, but an extension for Rodriguez with an average annual value in the range of $13-$15 million does not seem too far-fetched.
With the Winter Meetings set to take place in San Diego next month, that may be a good time to see whether talks between the Red Sox and Rodriguez’s camp ramp up at all. If not then, perhaps spring training in February or March.