Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez is the x-factor of the Red Sox rotation

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 11: Eduardo Rodriguez
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 11: Eduardo Rodriguez /

Eduardo Rodriguez is about to be healthy finally, so what does he mean to the Red Sox rotation?

In July 2014, the Boston Red Sox sent away super-reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles. However, the name they got back was a good one: Eduardo Rodriguez.

At the time of the trade, Rodriguez was 20 years old and was one of the best young pitchers in the minors. Now 24, Rodriguez is looking to find his niche in the Red Sox rotation.

Marred by knee injuries for the better part of two years, Rodriguez finally had knee surgery to solve that issue. He went through rehab most of the offseason and is going to be back soon enough.

The 24 year old made his spring debut in a minor league game on Tuesday, throwing 60 pitches. There is an outside chance he could be ready for his first start of the season. But he would have to make a big leap soon, so do not count on it.

But when Rodriguez is finally back in the rotation, he needs to bring his best.

This Red Sox rotation, at the moment at least, is very top-heavy. We all know about Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello. And that is leaving out the second best pitcher last season, Drew Pomeranz, who will likely start the season on the DL.

But the fifth spot in the rotation is very much up in the air. Steven Wright will have a chance to win the job, but Rodriguez should be the favorite.

Sure, Rodriguez’s career numbers do not blow you away, but his numbers when he is healthy do. In the first two months of the season last year, he pitched to a 2.92 ERA in nine starts and a 4-1 record.

Rodriguez is a flat-out great pitcher when he is healthy and is on his game. That is why he is the x-factor for the Red Sox this season.

We know what the Red Sox can get from their top two pitchers. Sale will be good again this season, and we know Price will breakthrough because of his dominance upon last year’s return.

If the Red Sox can get a bounce back year from Porcello and another strong season from Pomeranz, Boston will only need one more good pitcher.

Enter Rodriguez. If the Red Sox get what they have always wanted from him, they could have the best rotation in baseball.

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The Yankees may have the bats, but the Red Sox will have the better pitching staff. And Rodriguez could be icing on the cake of that dominant rotation.