While the 2023 season was a bit challenging for the Detroit Tigers, one bright spot was the play of Eduardo Rodriguez especially in the first half of the season. In 26 starts during his second season with Detroit, E-Rod posted a 3.30 ERA and accumulated 3.5 rWAR including being arguablyt he best pitcher in the American League in the first half.
There was some amount of weirdness in 2023, though, when it came to Rodriguez. Per the terms of his contract, he had the ability to veto trades to a a list of 10 teams which included the Dodgers. LA came calling at the trade deadline and after some consideration, Eduardo did end up vetoing the trade. That set the stage for Rodriguez to potentially opt out of his deal with the Tigers and leaving Detroit with nothing in return and, well, that is exactly what happened.
E-Rod opts out of contract with the Detroit Tigers
It isn't all that surprising to see this outcome. Rodriguez was set to make $18 million in 2024 and then $31 million combined in 2025 and 2026 if he opted into the rest of his deal with the Tigers. However, after a strong performance in Detroit this season and a pretty crummy market for starting pitching this winter, Rodriguez is likely to be able to beat that at least in terms of total guaranteed dollars if not in terms of AAV.
That doesn't mean that E-Rod's time in Detroit is done necessarily, though. A report from Jon Morosi yesterday indicated that the Tigers and Rodriguez had discussed a restructured deal that would keep him in Detroit. While those talks didn't bear fruit in time, there does seem to be some mutual interest on both sides in his return. He will obviously be able to talk to other teams now that he is hitting free agency, but there will be a window where Detroit can convince him to sign back on with the team.
With the news of the trade for Mark Canha (more forthcoming there) and E-Rod opting out, this offseason for Detroit is starting out with some fireworks to be sure.