Rafael Devers comes through with go-ahead single, Garrett Whitlock dominates in relief as Red Sox battle back to defeat Tigers, 5-3

The Red Sox bounced back from a tough series-opening loss at Comerica Park on Monday by pulling off a come-from-behind victory over the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon.

Boston rallied back from a three-run deficit to defeat Detroit, 5-3, and improve to 2-3 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his first start of the year for the Sox and first since 2015, allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

The veteran left-hander began his day by retiring the first seven batters he faced before things began to unravel a bit in the bottom half of the third. With one out in the frame, Hill gave up a flyball double to Spencer Torkelson that very easily could have been caught by Christian Arroyo in right field.

Torkelson, regarded by many as one of the top prospects in baseball, advanced to third base on a Dustin Garneau single and scored his side’s first run on an RBI groundout from Robbie Grossman.

Arroyo, making just his second career start in right field, was challenged once more when Jonathan Schoop lifted a softly-hit flyball that had an expected batting average of .070.

Rather than catch Schoop’s blooper, Arroyo took an awkward route and the ball landed a few feet in front of him, allowing Garneau to easily score from second to make it a 2-0 game.

Javier Baez, the hero of Monday’s game, proceeded to tack on an additional run on a blistering, 110.8 mph double to left field that plated Schoop all the way from first to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.

After eventually getting through the third, Hill rebounded by stranding Akil Baddoo at third base in a scoreless fourth inning. He then recorded the first out of the fifth before issuing a six-pitch walk to Grossman, which is how his outing would come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (54 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw relied primarily upon his four-seam fastball and curveball on Tuesday. He averaged 88.2 mph with his heater and induced a total of five swings-and-misses.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he was tasked with facing Schoop. The righty got Schoop to fly out to Rafael Devers in foul territory. Devers then caught the Tigers sleeping, as he made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec to nab Grossman at first base and complete the inning-ending, 5-3 double play.

To that point in the contest, the Sox lineup had mustered just two hits off Tigers starter Tyler Alexander. Things started to change for the better in the sixth, though, as Kevin Plawecki led the inning off with a groundball single.

A sacrifice bunt from Jonathan Arauz moved Plawecki up to second base, and Enrique Hernandez drove the backup catcher in from second on his first hit of the season: a one-out RBI double down the right field line to cut Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Rafael Devers followed suit by lacing a 99 mph single to right field that scored Hernandez from second to pull the Sox back to within one run of the Tigers.

Following a Detroit pitching change that saw Jacob Barnes take over for Alexander, J.D. Martinez stayed hot against his former team by ripping a game-tying double to the right field corner. The Tigers thought Martinez’s clutch hit may have landed in foul territory and challenged the call on the field.

Martinez’s RBI two-base hit was upheld, though, and the Red Sox and Tigers now found themselves deadlocked in a 3-3 stalemate.

After Garrett Whitlock came on for Sawamura and worked his way around a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh, the Boston bats struck once again in their half of the eighth.

Matched up against Tigers reliever Alex Lange, Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Devers then in Hernandez on a go-ahead single to center field. Arroyo tacked on an insurance run on an RBI single off Will Vest.

Now in possession of a 5-3 lead, Whitlock continued to dominate out of the ‘pen and shut down the Tigers to preserve the win. In his first outing since inking a four-year extension with the Sox on Sunday, the right-hander fanned two and issued just one walk over four scoreless, no-hit innings to earn his first winning decision of the year.

Some notes from this win:

Through five games this season, Rafael Devers is batting .381 (8-for-21) with two doubles, one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and five strikeouts.

After going 0-for-19 to start the season, Enrique Hernandez went 2-for-4 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout out of the leadoff spot on Tuesday.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Rodriguez

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Tigers in the rubber match of this three-game set on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston and he will be opposed by an old friend in left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez for Detroit.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign right-hander Michael Wacha to one-year deal

UPDATE: It’s a straight one-year, $7 million deal with no incentives, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. The deal is also now official.

The Red Sox are in the process of finalizing a one-year contract with free agent right-hander Michael Wacha, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is still pending a physical.

Wacha, 30, spent the 2021 season with the Rays, posting a 5.05 ERA and 4.47 FIP to go along with 121 strikeouts to 31 walks over 29 appearances (23 starts) spanning 124 2/3 innings of work.

Boston was known to be in the market for starting pitching help after Eduardo Rodriguez left to sign a five-year deal with the Tigers earlier this month. And Wacha, as Passan points out, is expected to provide the Sox with experienced rotation depth.

While his ERA this year was north of five, Wacha did put up a much more respectable 3.91 xFIP and 4.00 SIERA during his time with Tampa Bay, and he did so while producing a career-best chase rate of 32.6%.

A former first-round pick of the Cardinals out of Texas A&M University in 2012, Wacha established himself as one of the better starters in the National League in his tenure with St. Louis, earning National League Championship Series MVP honors in 2013 and an All-Star nod in 2015.

Since leaving the Cardinals at the conclusion of the 2019 campaign, the 6-foot-6, 215 pound righty will now be joining his third team in three years after spending 2020 with the Mets and 2021 with the Rays.

Per Baseball Savant, Wacha operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball, and sinker. His changeup may just be his best pitch, as opponents only batted .207 off it this season.

A client of CAA Sports, Wacha does not turn 31 until next July and figures to compete for a spot in Boston’s starting rotation by the time the Red Sox report to spring training in February.

That said, Wacha does have some experience as a reliever as well, so it would not be a surprise if chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. view the veteran hurler as someone who could start and pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen when needed.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox among several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, per report

The Red Sox are one of several teams interested in free agent right-hander Marcus Stroman, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes.

Per Dierkes, the Sox join the Angels, Cubs, Giants, and Mets as clubs who have expressed interest in Stroman. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi adds that the Mariners are viewed as a potential suitor as well.

Stroman, 30, is one of the top arms remaining on an open market that has seen several intriguing starters — such as Justin Verlander, Anthony DeSclafani, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Matz — come off the board in recent weeks.

After getting traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets in July 2019 and opting out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stroman enjoyed a great deal of success in his first full campaign in his home state of New York in 2021.

In 33 starts for the Mets, the Duke University product posted a 3.02 ERA and 3.49 FIP to go along with 158 strikeouts to 44 walks over 179 innings of work.

Among qualified starters this year, Stroman ranked ninth in ERA, 17th in FIP, 13th in xFIP (3.57), and 23rd in fWAR (3.4), per FanGraphs. His pitch arsenal consists of a sinker, slider, splitter, cutter, four-seam fastball and curveball and he is known for his ability to induce ground balls.

At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Stroman was extended a one-year qualifying offer by the Mets and he accepted it, thus prolonging his free agency to this offseason.

Since he was already extended a qualifying offer once, Stroman does not have any sort of draft pick compensation attached to him this winter, meaning any interested club could sign the righty without having to forfeit a draft selection.

Combine this with the kind of year he is coming off of, and it’s easy to see why someone such as Stroman is an appealing target to teams in need of starting pitching like the Red Sox are.

After watching Rodriguez leave to sign a five-year deal with the Tigers and Matz choose to sign a four-year pact with the Cardinals within the last two weeks, Boston remains locked in on upgrading its starting rotation going into 2022.

“We don’t have anything teed up that I would say is close but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Monday. “We’ve touched base with a wide variety of players. Just about everybody who is on the market and it’s gotten more serious and more involved with some of them.

“I don’t know right now if that’s going to lead to anything or when,” he added. “I think by the time the offseason is over, we will have added pitching of various sorts, including starting pitching. I think that’s something that’s a clear goal of ours. But who that’s going to be or when, I don’t know yet.”

Stroman, who turns 31 next May, would likely not come cheap. MLB Trade Rumors projects that the 5-foot-7, 180 pound hurler will land a five-year, $110 million contract in free agency.

Also of note here is that Stroman does have some history with Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Going back to the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Cora — Team Puerto Rico’s general manager — attempted to recruit Stroman (whose mother is of Puerto Rican descent) to join his team. Stroman instead chose to play for Team USA and was later named the tournament’s most valuable player.

(Picture of Marcus Stroman: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘remain in touch’ with free-agent left-hander Steven Matz, per report

The Red Sox ‘remain in touch’ with free agent left-hander Steven Matz, who ‘has a healthy market,’ according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Matz became a free agent earlier this month after spending the 2021 season with the Blue Jays, who acquired him from the Mets this past January.

In his first season with Toronto, the 30-year-old southpaw posted a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 29 starts spanning 150 2/3 innings of work.

Since electing free agency, Matz has drawn plenty of interest from other clubs — including the Red Sox. Not only is the 6-foot-2, 201 pound hurler coming off a solid 2021 campaign, but he also did not receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, meaning he has no draft pick compensation attached to him.

Because of these factors, the Sox are not the only club who have inquired on Matz, who is represented by Icon Sports Management and met with potential suitors at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

On Thursday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Mets — the organization Matz began his professional career with as a second-round draft pick in 2009 — have interest in bringing the Stony Brook native back for 2022 and beyond.

Heyman added that the Blue Jays were also interested in reuniting with Matz while several other teams are pursuing him.

The off-season may only be weeks old, but the Red Sox have already taken a hit in regards to their starting rotation with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez jettisoning Boston to sign a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers on Tuesday.

Adding an experienced starting pitcher such as Matz to the mix would be one way Boston could go about filling the void left behind by Rodriguez. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom touched upon this very topic in a recent conversation with Cotillo.

“We certainly want to have more guys who are capable of starting games in the big-leagues and doing it well,” Bloom said. “We’re not too focused on how famous they are. It’s more about what we think they can do. With that said, certainly a lot of the guys who could do the job well are also well-known. We’re focusing on those guys, too. We need to cover the whole map here and make sure we’re involved in everything that could help us.”

In addition to Matz, other free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could purse include 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (who is qualified), Anthony DeSclafani, Kevin Gausman, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Marcus Stroman.

Of course, Boston’s quest to add rotation depth does not have to stop in free agency. As Cotillo notes, the trade market is flush with intriguing names such as Sandy Alcantara, Chris Bassitt, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Sean Manaea being floated out there.

“We’ve been really active in talking to free agents and talking to other clubs,” said Bloom. “There are days that start with us thinking we might really have our teeth sunk in something and the day ends quietly. There have been days where it has been the reverse, that midway through the day, something develops and accelerates. Obviously, it hasn’t led to a major transaction for us yet, but the conversations have certainly been active.”

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox were among teams ‘believed to have considered’ Noah Syndergaard before right-hander reached agreement with Angels, per report

The Red Sox were among several teams believed to have been interested in free agent Noah Syndergaard before the right-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels on Tuesday, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds on to this, writing that both the Red Sox and Blue Jays “made aggressive offers for Syndergaard” while the Yankees also had interest.

Per Heyman, Syndergaard was set to take his physical with the Angels on Tuesday, meaning his agreement with Los Angeles could become official relatively soon if he passes.

Prior to setting himself up to join the Halos’ starting rotation next season, the 29-year-old had been extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022 by his former club in the Mets.

Assuming Syndergaard passes his physical, the Angels would then be forced to forfeit $500,000 in international signing bonus money as well as their second-highest selection in next year’s draft, while the Mets would receive a compensatory draft pick after losing a qualified free agent in free agency.

The fact that the Red Sox were reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher such as Syndergaard is telling. Not only did he have a qualifying offer attached to him, but the Texas-born righty has pitched a total of two major-league innings since the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, Syndergaard suffered a series of setbacks in his road to recovery this season, including right elbow inflammation in late May and a positive COVID-19 test in late August.

It took until late September for Syndergaard to make his highly-anticipated 2021 debut, and he did so as an opener for the Mets, allowing two runs over two innings in his only two big-league appearances of the year.

Still, even after being that limited in 2021, Syndergaard received a qualifying offer from the Mets, thus putting somewhat of a strain on another team if they were to sign him away from New York.

As highlighted by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Angels bit the bullet in this case. Rosenthal explained that Los Angeles is essentially paying a premium of $21 million for a pitcher who will likely be operating on an inning limit in 2022 given their lack of work the last two seasons.

That the Red Sox were interested in Syndergaard is certainly fascinating to say the least. Between the salary, draft-related penalties, and injury history/concerns, there are plenty of risks to factor in here despite the hard-throwing, 6-foot-6, 242 pound hurler having some major upside.

Though the depth of conversation between the Sox and Syndergaard — represented by CAA Sports — is presently unclear, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hinted that Boston would inquire on qualified free agents this off-season.

“I think we’re in better position than we were a year ago,” Bloom said recently. “Even a year ago, I remember we talked about it and I said it’s certainly not something that’s off the table for us. Now at the time I said that knowing that most likely with [last year’s qualified free agents], it wouldn’t line up. I don’t know how this off-season is going to play out. But I think just where we’re positioned now with the depth that we have internally — although we’re nowhere close to where we want to be — we are in a better position than where we were.

“So I think it’s likelier there could be a fit there,” he added. “But we’re just going to do as we would with any move, just access all the implications. And if it is something that makes sense for us, we’ve got to be ready to bounce.”

With Syndergaard now off the table and heading to the West Coast, the only other qualified free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could pursue are Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander.

An evaluator representing Boston was on hand when Verlander, who is expected to decline the Astros’ qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline, threw for teams in Florida last week.

(Picture of Noah Syndergaard: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

What Red Sox gain from Eduardo Rodriguez reportedly reaching agreement with Tigers

The Red Sox may have lost Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency to the Tigers on Monday, but chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will at least be compensated for it.

Last week, the Sox extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer to Rodriguez, but the 28-year-old rejected it at some point during the GM meetings and remained a free agent by doing so.

Because they extended Rodriguez a qualifying offer, though, Boston ensured that if the left-hander were to sign elsewhere in free agency, they would receive a compensatory draft pick in return.

As it turns out, Rodriguez — a client of Mato Sports Management — has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers that includes an opt out after the second year, a no-trade clause of some sort, and up to $3 million in performance incentives.

Since Detroit is in line to sign a qualified free agent in Rodriguez, they will forfeit a pick. Boston, on the other hand, picks up an additional selection in next summer’s amateur draft.

According to MLB Trade Rumors‘ Anthony Franco, the Sox will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B — or somewhere in the 70-75 range — since they “neither received revenue sharing nor exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2021.”

Over the summer, the Red Sox failed to sign University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian, who they selected with the 40th overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. As a result of failing to sign Fabian, the club will receive the No. 41 pick in the 2022 draft.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this compensatory pick is protected, which means a team that signs a qualified free agent would not be required to give it up.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox did not receive revenue sharing money or spend past the luxury tax threshold of $210 million this past season. In addition to getting a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B next year, this also means that Boston would have to forfeit its second-highest draft pick if they were to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer from another club.

As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, though, the draft pick that the Red Sox gained as a result of failing to sign Fabian is protected, so they would instead part ways with their third-highest — or another second-round pick if they were to sign a qualified free agent such as Justin Verlander or Carlos Correa.

Put another way, “the Sox will have both a first-round pick and, thanks to Fabian, an early second-round (No. 41 overall) pick in their draft” next year, per Speier.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez agrees to five-year, $77 million deal with Tigers, per report

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)

Eduardo Rodriguez rejects Red Sox’ $18.4 million qualifying offer, per report

Eduardo Rodriguez rejected the qualifying offer the Red Sox extended to him last weekend, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, Rodriguez rejected Boston’s one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer during last week’s GM meetings and is now engaged with teams in multi-year contract talks.

The Red Sox initially extended the qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction this past Sunday, giving the left-hander 10 days — or until November 17 at 5 p.m. eastern time — to either accept it and remain with the club for an additional season or reject it and remain a free agent.

Since he has now declined Boston’s offer, Rodriguez is free to sign with another organization if he so chooses. If he were to sign elsewhere, Rodriguez’s new team would then owe the Red Sox compensation in the form of a draft pick.

Originally acquired from the Orioles in exchange for fellow lefty Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline, Rodriguez has experienced plenty of ups and downs in his time with the Red Sox dating back to his major-league debut in May 2015.

Just two years removed from finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019, Rodriguez missed the entirety of the compressed 2020 campaign after contracting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) following a bout with COVID-19.

This past season, the now-28-year-old posted posted a 4.74 ERA and 3.32 FIP to go along with 185 strikeouts to 47 walks over 32 appearances (31 starts) spanning 157 2/3 total innings of work.

On the surface, Rodriguez’s numbers — particularly his ERA — may not look all that flattering. However, among the 18 left-handers who accrued at least 150 innings this season, the Venezuelan southpaw ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

At last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran expressed an interest in keeping Rodriguez in Boston for 2022 and beyond.

To that end, Heyman recently reported that Rodriguez received a multi-year contract offer from the Sox in addition to the $18.4 million qualifying offer.

MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Rodriguez will net himself a a five-year, $70 million contract this winter, while FanGraphs‘ Ben Clemens projected that the  the 6-foot-2, 231 pound hurler could get a four-year, $80 million pact if the opportunity presents itself.

In addition to the Red Sox, other clubs such as the Angels, Blue Jays, and Tigers have expressed interest in Rodriguez, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

A client of ISE Baseball, Rodriguez does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window is fairly wide open as he truly prepares to immerse himself in free agency for the first time in his big-league career.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Where do things stand between Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez as qualifying offer decision looms?

The Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez on November 7, giving the left-hander 10 days to either accept or reject the one-year, $18.4 million deal for 2022.

A full week has passed since Rodriguez received Boston’s qualifying offer, which means he has just three more days, or until Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. eastern time, to make his decision.

If accepted, Rodriguez would return to the Sox on that aforementioned one-year deal for the 2022 campaign. If rejected, the ISE Baseball client would remain a free agent, though any other club that signs him would then owe Boston compensation in the form of a draft pick.

In the time that has gone by since the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer in Rodriguez’s direction, the Venezuelan southpaw has also received a multi-year contract offer from Boston, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Rodriguez, 28, is just two years removed from finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting in 2019, but missed all of the compressed 2020 season after contracting myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of a bout with COVID-19.

This past season, 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 32 appearances (31 starts) spanning 157 2/3 total innings of work.

On the surface, Rodriguez’s 4.74 ERA may seem deterring. However, among the 18 left-handers who accrued at least 150 innings this season, he ranked second in strikeout rate (27.4%), third in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.43), per FanGraphs.

Because of those improved peripherals, Rodriguez is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a five-year, $70 million contract in free agency this winter. FanGraphs‘ Ben Clemens also projects he could land a four-year, $80 million pact if the opportunity presents itself.

To that end, Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) during last week’s GM meetings that the club was engaged in contract talks with Rodriguez and that they “would love to bring him back.”

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom added on to that, indicating that the Sox were indeed interested in bringing Rodriguez back on some sort of multi-year deal.

“I think when there’s mutual interest in some kind of longer-term deal, it makes sense to talk as much as you can and to keep that line of communication open,” Bloom said. “So I expect that will happen.”

The Red Sox originally acquired Rodriguez, then a 21-year-old pitching prospect, from the Orioles in exchange for fellow lefty Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline. As an impending free agent, Miller remained in Baltimore for just a few months before signing a lucrative four-year deal with the Yankees that winter.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, has for the most part established himself as a key cog in Boston’s starting rotation since making his major-league debut in May 2015. As O’Halloran alluded to, he is clearly someone the Red Sox would like to bring back for 2022 and beyond.

That being said, Rodriguez does not turn 29 until next April, so his earning window would still be pretty wide open even if he were to accept the Sox’ qualifying offer and set himself up to hit the open market again at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

If he elects to become a free agent now by rejecting the qualifying offer, it does appear as though Rodriguez already has a number of suitors. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported on Sunday that the Angels, Blue Jays, and Tigers were among the teams interested in Rodriguez’s services.

Interest from the Red Sox and other clubs aside, Rodriguez is technically still on the clock as those involved anxiously await the result of his decision, which is due no later than Wednesday evening.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Just how interested are Red Sox in free agent left-hander Steven Matz?

Earlier this week, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the Red Sox were one of multiple teams interested in free agent left-hander Steven Matz. On Friday, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden added more fuel to that fire.

While answering questions from readers, Bowden hypothesized that if the Red Sox are unable to re-sign fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, they will “pivot to another similar starter,” such as Matz.

Matz, 30, became a free agent earlier this month after spending the entirety of the 2021 season with the Blue Jays. The former second-round draft pick out of Stony Brook, N.Y. spent the first 12 years of his professional career with the Mets, but was dealt to Toronto this past January.

In return for Matz, the Mets acquired three right-handed pitchers including prospect Josh Winckowski, who they later traded to the Red Sox as part of the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals in February.

Regardless of that, Matz made 29 starts for the Jays this season, posting a respectable 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP to go along with 144 strikeouts to 43 walks over 150 2/3 innings of work. He missed time in the month of June due to a bout with COVID-19.

Among 17 left-handed starters who accrued at least 150 innings in 2021, Matz ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (8.6), ninth in walks per nine innings (2.6), 10th in strikeout rate (22.3%), eighth and walk rate (6.6%), seventh in FIP, and eighth in xFIP (3.94), per FanGraphs.

According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 201 pound southpaw operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, his fastest and most-used pitch, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider.

The Blue Jays had the chance to extend Matz an $18.4 million qualifying offer, but elected not to do so even after making a multi-year extension offer that the veteran hurler reportedly rejected, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Because he was not extended a qualifying offer, Matz does not have any draft pick compensation attached to him.

For this reason, Matz — a client of Icon Sports Management — should be more appealing to interested clubs such as the Red Sox since they would not have to forfeit a draft pick to the Blue Jays in order to sign him.

On that note, Newsday’s Tim Healey reported from Carlsbad, Calif. this week that Matz, who does not turn 31 until next May, was on hand at the GM meetings to talk with teams. Healey, like Sherman, also listed the Red Sox as one of the teams that ‘are in’ on Matz.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) on his way out of the GM meetings on Thursday, Red Sox chief baseball officer would not comment on if he spoke with any players in person, but did say that he felt like progress was made in terms of getting deals done.

(Picture of Steven Matz: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)