Boston Red Sox Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez is like a box of chocolates. 

“You’re never Sure what you’re gonna get.” One thing was for sure, He was going to turn down the Red Sox Qualifying Offer of 18.44 million dollars for the 2022 season.  MLB Network’s Jon Haymen made it official last night that E-Rod has in fact turned down the Sox ‘ qualifying offer. 

Nuts and Bolts

Rodriguez is 64-39 in Boston, with three seasons with an ERA of 3.80 or lower. Pitching in Fenway as a lefty! That is better than average in this day and age. But he also has three seasons in boston with an ERA of 4.19 – 4.71 and last year posted a 4.74. Some Nuts some Caramel and some really down right nasty fruity creams in what on the surface is a nice looking box of chocolates. Never Cy Young caliber but not trash either. It just seems the old town teams faithful are tired of this Jekyll and Hyde situation and more of them are ready to move on than are willing to see the Red Sox boom up 75 to 100 million to watch this movie for another four or five years. 

Erod pitches in a hitter’s park, in a league with the DH’s, and in a division with many of the top hitters in baseball. The same performance in the NL Central or West probably sets him with an ERA at or under 3.5 (The DH in the NL isn’t dead yet people) even Detroit – Kansas City or Anaheim pitcher friendly confines would see this number fall well below 4.00. And many of these teams are very interested in Rodriguez’ services. 

The Candidates 

The Toronto Blue Jays : Another pitcher friendly venue. Toronto has the need and the cash, their second half run has the front office pumped for a big off season and they would love to help themselves while hurting the Red Sox. Robbie Ray and Steven Matts have both hit the market and they need a solid lefty to round out the rotation. 

The Detroit Tigers: Another club with a second half of the 2021 season that has the front office thinking they are better than their 77-85 finish. Adding E-Rod to this rotation could be what the Tigers need to springboard them into contention in the wide open AL Central. 

The LA Angels : the talk around the water cooler in Anaheim has made its way east and I’m told the Angels are all  in on E-Rod.. But not only E-Rod. They are also interested in Justin Verlander and Robbi Ray. how these dominos may fall is uncertain. But Rodriguez is on their radar as a veteran partner to Shohei Ohtani. They have the money to sign two on this list. I’m betting Erod is the second domino.

LA Dodgers: The Dodgers are always hiding in the weeds with their never ending well of cable cash. and they scare me the most and the least in all of these pitching needy teams. The most because they could force Boston to overpay, the least because the Sox won’t play the Dodgers unless they meet in the World Series. With Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw both hitting the market they will need to fill in the pothole left behind when one or both of them move on. 

 

The Cool Stuff 

 The stat that killed Rodriguez was his batting average on balls in play. It sat around .300 from his rookie season up through 2019, then it spiked to .363 in 2021. But he still posted career bests in FIP, xFIP, SIERA, K%, and BB% while staying relatively the same in exit velo and hard hit rate. He could be a #2 next year and # 5 for the rest of his next deal. That’s the rub.

 

 Obviously his 5.52 ERA over the first half of 2021 had everything to do with his continued recovery from Covid, After all he hadn’t pitched for 18 months. Teams around the league will look at his 3.71 second half ERA. and think that he wasn’t fully recovered from Covid when the season began. And they would be right. But is it more Jekyle and Hyde ? Is it worth 70 to 100 million dollars to find out? I don’t know. I do know that Bloom will need to fill a hole himself if he walks. The Devil you know. 

 

Follow / Give me Grief on Twitter @Tmurph207