Boston Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez had a career year in 2019 and the southpaw wants to use that to set the tone for the rest of his career.
Eduardo Rodriguez just completed his fifth season in the majors having spent the entirety of his career with the Red Sox. For years we’ve heard about what Rodriguez could be if he only put all of the pieces to the puzzle together. Sadly, things never seemed to line up how the southpaw and fans would’ve liked, until now.
Despite the season being a big disappointment in the overall picture or the Red Sox, E-Rod was one of the few that shined in a dark time. Going into the season we’d heard from several within the organization, as well as Boston legend Pedro Martinez, that Rodriguez had put in more work this winter than ever before. It’s safe to say they weren’t speaking out of line as Eddie Aces didn’t disappoint once during the season.
Rodriguez posted a 19-6 record in 34 starts with a 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 203.1 IP, all of which were career highs for the starter. It wasn’t a perfect story for him though as he did also see career-high marks in walks (75), WHIP (1.328), hits (195), and runs (88). You’ve gotta take the bad with the good and luckily for Red Sox Nation, there was a lot more good than bad for E-Rod.
"“That was my goal when the season started, [to make] 30 starts and throw more than 200 innings, and I was able to do it. That’s what I’m most proud of,” Rodriguez said."
He set goals for this last season and was able to cross them off the list on his way to being in the Cy Young conversation. It may sound just like another day as we all make lists with our goals or just tasks we want to accomplish. Considering he set the bar high for himself to reach levels that he never had before achieved them, that deserves some respect.
I can admit that I haven’t always been his biggest fan but this season Eduardo really put this starting rotation on his back and carried them. Injuries negated Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi for much of the season while Rick Porcello did his best Jekyll & Hyde Impression. E-Rod was the constant from March through September and he showed up to fight in each and every start.
"“I matured with regards to training and preparing for games,” he said."
I was able to catch one of Eduardo’s starts this past season against the Orioles and it was an absolute gem. It was a game in mid-August and the season had essentially been lost at that point but that didn’t stop the Red Sox from getting the job done. E-Rod held Baltimore scoreless through 7.1 IP before handing over to Matt Barnes. The Sox won 4-0 thanks to a pair of homers from Brock Holt and Rafael Devers.
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What stood out to me the most during those seven innings from the lefty was his composure in times when he gave up a hit or walk. For much of the season, he received the most run support from the offense but on this night it was up to him to get the job done. Though four runs is a decent cushion, they didn’t come until later in the game, so E-Rod had to carry the weight.
Rodriguez won’t be a free agent until 2022 and if he can follow up his 2019 campaign with similar magic, he’s likely to get a nice payday. He will be in arbitration for the 2020 and 2021 seasons and will probably get a nice raise ahead of the upcoming season. All well deserved as he’s trending upward at a rapid pace after the last two seasons.
"“I would love to stay with Boston,” said Rodríguez. “If they offer me an extension and we come to an agreement, I would love that. That’s where I began my career and I would love to finish it there.”"
With two seasons of control left there is some uncertainty around his future as free agency creeps up much quicker than we tend to realize. The fact that he wants to stay in Boston for the rest of his career is a great sign for not only E-Rod but the organization. If the Red Sox can achieve their goal of resetting the CBT penalties then they need to set aside a piece of the budget for Eduardo and his future.
In a time where Mookie Betts has expressed his interest to test the waters, there’s a major sigh of relief when a player shares his desires in not even contemplating the idea. With the team that’s built around him, Rodriguez can continue to improve and grow into the ace of this rotation especially as his battery mates head towards the back half of their careers.
The Red Sox are in a transition period as their new front office team begins to build towards contention in 2020 while saving for the future. All eyes will be on them as they try and field a roster that can erase the debacle of 2019 from people’s memories. Having Eduardo Rodriguez on the roster for the near future and beyond can only help Boston achieve its goals of raising more banners at Fenway Park.