The Detroit Tigers reached an agreement with starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez on a five-year, $77 million deal, CBS Sports HQ insider Jim Bowden confirms. Rodriguez will have an opt-out after Year 2.
Rodríguez, 28, is the first big free-agent domino to drop this offseason as the market begins to take shape. He was ranked 19th on our top-50 list of best free agents available as the Tigers look to spend this winter. Our R.J. Anderson views him as a "legit mid-rotation starter" for his new team.
Rodríguez, who missed the 2020 campaign after he developed myocarditis following his bout with COVID-19, returned in fine form last season. (He probably would've won the Comeback Player of the Award were it not for Trey Mancini's own inspirational tale.) He accrued the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career, in part by throwing a new personal best rate of strikes. Rodríguez also ranked near the top of the league in suppressing quality of contact for the third time in five years. He's not the best bet on the market to give a team 180 innings a season, but he's a legit mid-rotation starter and his next season with a below-average ERA+ will be his first.
The left-hander was a durable part of the Red Sox for six seasons, earning double-digit wins three of those years, including the 2018 World Series championship team for Boston.
Rodríguez missed the 2020 season due to being diagnosed with a heart condition after testing positive for COVID-19. In 2021, he went 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA (100 ERA+), 1.39 WHIP and 185 strikeouts against 47 walks in 157 2/3 innings. He got stronger as the season went on, compiling a 3.26 ERA in his last 12 outings. He was bad in his first playoff outing but threw well in his next two starts.
Though it's unlikely the Tigers are done adding to their rotation, it currently looks like this:
1. Eduardo Rodríguez, LHP
2. Casey Mize, RHP
3. Tarik Skubal, LHP
4. Matt Manning, RHP
5. Tyler Alexander, LHP
Lefty Matthew Boyd had elbow surgery in September and righty Spencer Turnbull had Tommy John surgery in late July.
There's certainly depth, but if the Tigers are really pushing hard toward contention, adding another frontline arm to push Mize down as a mid-rotation starter at this point in his career would be the move.
The Tigers were expected to be aggressive this winter in moving closer back to contention after a surprise 77-win season. Adding Rodríguez appears to be the first of several big moves.