Eduardo Rodriguez’s time with the Red Sox has come to an end, as the left-hander has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers. The agreement was first reported by The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen and was later confirmed by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Per Heyman, Rodriguez’s deal with the Tigers includes a potential opt out after the second year and contains up to an additional $3 million in incentives. It also includes a no-trade clause.
Rodriguez, 28, was originally acquired by the Red Sox from the Orioles in the trade that sent fellow lefty Andrew Miller to Baltimore at the 2014 trade deadline.
After making his big-league debut the following season, Rodriguez established himself as a key cog in Boston’s starting rotation, most notably helping the club win a World Series title in 2018 and then finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019.
Last year, the Venezuelan southpaw contracted myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19, forcing him to miss the entirety of the compressed 2020 campaign.
This past season, Rodriguez returned to form for the most part while also experiencing some ups and downs. In 32 appearances (31 starts), the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 157 2/3 total innings of work.
Despite the relatively high ERA, Rodriguez still proved to be one of the more effective left-handed starters in baseball. Among the 18 lefties who accrued at least 150 innings on the mound this year, he ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.
From the time he became a free agent earlier this month, the Red Sox had strong interest in bringing Rodriguez back on a multi-year deal for 2022 and beyond. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the club made several extension offers throughout 2021, but their one mid-season offer “was so far off from Rodriguez’s wishes that talks basically ended immediately.”
Ahead of last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., the Red Sox extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for the 2022 season and the ISE Baseball client rejected it shortly thereafter.
Because the Sox extended him a qualifying offer, though, Rodriguez’s new club — in this case, the Tigers — now owes Boston compensation in the form of a draft pick.
By joining the Tigers, Rodriguez becomes the first major free agent to come off the board this off-season. He is also the first Red Sox free agent to sign elsewhere, as the likes of José Iglesias, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Garrett Richards, Hansel Robles, Danny Santana, Kyle Schwarber, and Travis Shaw remain on the open market.
(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)