Eduardo Rodriguez has suddenly become a trade piece for the Detroit Tigers
The starting pitcher market around baseball has become chaos. Pitchers are getting paid. It doesn't matter how old you are or what you're injury history is, you're going to receive a nice payday. The Detroit Tigers participated in this, giving Matthew Boyd a one-year, $10 million contract.
This seemed like a bit of an overpay at the time. Boyd seemed like someone you could sign for around $5 million. But after seeing some of the other deals that have been handed out, the Tigers may have gotten a steal.
Taijuan Walker got four years and $72 million from the Philadelphia Phillies. That's $18 million a year for a guy who's battled injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. Jameson Taillon and his lengthy injury history got four years and $68 million from the Cubs. Even Andrew Heaney got two years, $25 million from Texas after one good season. The pitching market is out of control right now.
So yeah, the Boyd deal seems all right for the Detroit Tigers. It looks pretty good now. You know another Tigers' starter that has a contract that looks like a steal now? Eduardo Rodriguez.
E-rod signed a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers last offseason. It looked like a solid mid-tier signing at the time. His first year in a Tigers uniform was...interesting to say the least.
He got off to an okay start. In his first eight starts, he had a 4.38 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks in 39 IP. Then he left his start against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 18 with a ribcage sprain. That's when things started to go off the rails.
After he made a rehab start in which he looked like he was ready to come off the IL, Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list on June 13 due to personal issues. We won't speculate on what happened here.
He missed the next two months on top of the three weeks he had already missed with the injury. He finally came off the IL on Aug. 19 and made nine starts down the stretch. Overall, E-rod ended up with a 4.05 ERA in 91 IP (17 starts).
He may have had a rough season overall, but with the way the starting pitching market is right now, his contract looks like a steal. The Tigers have a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for the forseeable future...or they would if he didn't have an opt-out after the 2023 season.
Yeah, there's the problem. Barring another injury or personal issue-riddled season, Rodriguez is likley going to opt out at the end of the 2023 season. If he has even a remotely good season, he's going to get paid.
Because of that, the Detroit Tigers might be wise to move on from him and try to get something in return. He'll certainly garner a lot of interest. The Tigers have plenty of starting pitching depth as well, so moving him wouldn't hurt very much there. Someone like Joey Wentz could slot right in.
Some might be skeptical of the value that Rodriguez actually has, and that's fair considering what happened last year. But that's the only incident like that throughout his career. For all that we know, it sounds like whatever the personal issues he had are behind him now.
Considering how valuable starting pitching has become, the Tigers could get a nice haul in return for E-rod—even if he'd only be a one-year rental. We'd love to see Scott Harris net a big leaguer in return, but if he's able to get one or two more prospect like Justyn-Henry Malloy, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
The Detroit Tigers have to face facts: they need to trade from their strengths (pitching) to improve their weaknesses (hitting). Trading Eduardo Rodriguez almost feels inevitable at this point.