While shortstop remains atop the Detroit Tigers free agency shopping list, starting pitcher is not far behind. The organization has three pillars in Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal, but there is a strong need for veteran experience and durability as the team begins to move back into contention.
It looks like the Detroit front office has identified its prize, and no, it does not look like Justin Verlander. Monday morning, The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen reported that the Tigers are close to a deal with Boston lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is 28 years old and has thrown at least 100 innings in each of the past six seasons with Boston. He owns a career ERA of 4.16 and FIP of 3.83 and averages over a strikeout per inning. In 2021 he threw 157 2⁄3 innings with a career-worst 4.74 ERA but a career-best 3.32 FIP.
Jeff Passan confirmed Stavenhagen’s report and added in some of the contract details:
Eduardo Rodriguez’s deal, once finalized, will pay him $77 million over five years, sources tell ESPN. Detroit gets the youngest starter on the market to add to its young-and-talented rotation. Tigers are on the come-up. @CodyStavenhagen had the deal in place first.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2021
MLB Trade Rumors had Rodriguez set at a five-year, $70-million contract value, and the actual numbers come pretty close to this. The southpaw was offered a qualifying offer by the Red Sox, so there will be a draft pick cost for Detroit. However, that would be the case with any premium acquisition made this winter.