The Detroit Tigers and Eduardo Rodriguez are officially a match.
One day after coming to an agreement, the Tigers formally announced Rodriguez’s five-year contract Tuesday upon the completion of his medical examinations. The left-handed starting pitcher will earn $77 million during his time in Detroit, with an opt-out after the second year, a no-trade clause and up to $3 million in incentives for his performance.
“Eduardo was clearly one of our top targets in this year’s free agent pitching class, and we are extremely happy to add someone of his caliber to our rotation,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Tuesday in a statement. “There are a number of strong qualities that Eduardo brings to our ballclub, including his leadership abilities, and we look forward to the positive impact he will have on our team both on and off the field.”
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Rodriguez, 28, has pitched six MLB seasons for the Boston Red Sox, winning the 2018 World Series with a 64-39 record and 4.16 ERA. Boston offered him the $18.4 million qualifying offer, but he turned it down during last week’s GM meetings in Carlsbad, California. The Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels were competing for the left-hander with multiyear offers before he picked the Tigers.
On Tuesday morning, the Blue Jays reached a seven-year, $131 million contract extension with right-handed starter Jose Berrios. Not long after, the Angels inked righty Noah Syndergaard to a one-year, $21 million deal.
Because Rodriguez turned down the qualifying offer, the Tigers will forfeit a draft pick to the Red Sox.
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Rodriguez returned to the mound in 2021 after missing the shortened 2020 season with COVID-19 and myocarditis. He went 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA, 47 walks and 185 strikeouts, as well as a 27.4% strikeout rate and 7.0% walk rate. Rodriguez had a 3.65 ERA in his final 17 games (16 starts), then made three starts in the postseason
“I am excited to be a Tiger and appreciate the commitment being made to building a winning team in Detroit,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. “After some great years in Boston with amazing fans and teammates, I am blessed to be coming into a new situation where the fans in Detroit are some of the best in baseball. In speaking with Al and AJ (Hinch, manager), I knew this is a place that would be a good fit for me and my family. I can’t wait to join my new teammates and work towards a World Series title.”
Back in 2019, Rodriguez finished sixth in American League Cy Young voting with a 19-6 record, 3.81 ERA, 75 walks and 213 strikeouts over 203⅓ innings in 34 starts.
He becomes the fourth member of the Tigers’ starting rotation entering 2022: Rodriguez, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning. The organization would prefer to add a veteran pitcher to accumulate as many innings as possible as the fifth starter. Left-hander Tyler Alexander, who had a 3.38 ERA across 15 starts last season, should get a chance to make the rotation out of spring training.
The Tigers also must figure out their void at the shortstop position. How they will go about doing so remains unclear, but these six free agents would be substantial upgrades: Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez and Chris Taylor.
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