The Detroit Tigers have expressed an interest in left-handed starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez. So has his former team, the Boston Red Sox. Let’s examine how Eduardo would fit into the starting rotation.
It’s “Contender November” here at Motor City Bengals as the Detroit Tigers are interested in fixing their rotation and finding their future shortstop. Here are the articles in case you missed any of them.
As I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox are willing to go above the qualifying offer and give him multiple years per Jon Heyman of MLB.com. The Los Angeles Angels have also expressed an interest as well.
The Detroit Tigers are interested and that is good news for the fans because there is some data to indicate how effective he is. Jon Morosi mentioned his relationship with Tigers assistant pitching coach Juan Nieves when Juan was in Boston.
So let’s break down who Eduardo Rodríguez is and what can he do for the Tigers rotation.
Who is Eduardo Rodríguez?
Left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez came over from Baltimore in the Andrew Miller deal back in 2014 and has been in the Red Sox rotation since 2015, pitching a career-high 203 innings in 2019. He throws five different pitches, a four-seam fastball, slider, change, cutter, and sinker. Here are all five pitches in action.
He uses his four-seam fastball the most at a 39.9% rate, followed by his change at 23.1%, cutter 17.7%, sinker at 11.2%, and slider at 8.2%. His fastball generates the highest whiff rate at 31.3% with an impressive XBA of .231.
He is more to meets the eye in terms of surface numbers. His ERA was 4.74 but his FIP (Field Independent Pitching) was 3.32, which caused him to have a higher WAR in FanGraphs (3.8) to Baseball-Reference, which has him at 1.8.
Another stat that stands out is his average exit velocity which was among the top 89 percentile of the league at 86.5. He is mainly a ground ball pitcher with a GB rate of 42.1% so is able to get batters to roll over on the change and sinker.
He has had some injuries that have been mainly his right knee. In 2018, he missed time due to the repair of his patellofemoral ligament and a right ankle sprain but overall, he has been a solid number two or three starter, finishing 6th in 2019’s Cy Young vote.
Why would he be a good fit for the Detroit Tigers?
He has started in 30 or more games the last two seasons which is key because the three out of the last four starters the Detroit Tigers have signed not including the 2020 season to fill the void for the rotation was Julio Teheran,(1 start) Matt Moore and Tyson Ross (combined for 9 starts). Jose Urena joined Mike Fiers as the only free agent signings since 2016 who have pitched at least 100 innings and made 15+ starts.
While his last two seasons are the ones that he has thrown the most innings (203 in 2019 and 157 in 2021), he perhaps is building himself to throw at least 150 or more. This season he made 31 starts, 12 of which he went 5 innings and 9 starts in which he went six or more. Lefties bat just .258 against him so the bigger fence at Comerica Park would be much more appealing as he only gave up two home runs against lefties when they went to right.
He only has 15 innings at Comerica Park lifetime with an ERA of 3.00 in 15 innings pitched in his career which is just a small sample size. What would make him a perfect fit if the Tigers get their target shortstop. While Boston had a -3 DRS saved last season from short, Detroit was -16 and Boston had a solid 6 DRS from second base. His K rate is good, granted but having a good defense can make any team’s pitching better but with Rodriguez, it could allow him to go deeper in games.
Eduardo Rodriguez would be an excellent starting rotation upgrade and worth the draft pick the Tigers would have to give up.