The Boston Red Sox had a pretty successful day while making offers today but one of their star pitchers is opting to test the arbitration waters.
All in all, it was a pretty good day for the Red Sox and Chaim Bloom as they traded arbitration numbers with the qualified players and had most of them accepted. With seven total players eligible for arbitration it was a tall task to make offers that would please them all. I said it was a pretty good day, not a great day, as Boston was only able to sign five of the seven intended players.
Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the two members of the roster that has yet to accept an offer and will most likely head to an arbitration trial. E-Rod was projected to receive an offer of around $9.5M based on his previous salary and 2019 performance.
In regards to everyone that signed today, all of the accepted offers were pretty darn close to the projections with some even making more than expected. If I had to try and solve the riddle here I’d think that the Red Sox may have come in a bit under the projection and Rodriguez values himself more. That’s the nature of the arbitration game, it’s front office versus player in the self-worth game.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network is reporting that the Sox made an offer of $8.3M and the starter is looking in the range of $8.9M. Being that they are so close in their numbers it’s hard to see this going in any direction that isn’t for E-Rod.
Based on his 2019 campaign, I can see why he would value himself at more than the initial offer. Eddie Aces finished the year with a 19-6 record and a 3.81 ERA in 203.1 innings. He made it clear throughout the season that he had two goals, he wanted to toss 200 innings and hit 20 wins.
He achieved one of his goals and sadly had his 20th win ripped from him thanks to a Matt Barnes blown save. Boston would go on to win that game but E-Rod was no longer in contention for the win. He saw career highs in strikeouts (213), walks (75), WHIP (1.328), and games started (34). It was a pretty even mix for the southpaw but with the massive increase in innings, all of his stats were going to increase.
In a season where the Red Sox rarely had their aces firing at full strength, Rodriguez was the foundation of the starting rotation. When guys like Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi couldn’t go, E-Rod carried the team. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of his but seeing what he did this season it’s hard to not jump on the bandwagon.
During the offseason, we heard that he was working harder in order to become a bigger asset to the Red Sox and that work ethic paid dividends. I saw him pitch in August against the Orioles and it was an absolute gem of a start. The lefty tossed 7.1 innings and gave up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 4 batters. Boston won on the backs of that start as well as a pair of dingers from Brock Holt and Rafael Devers.
Going into 2020 we have no idea where the health of the starting rotation is and where it could be when Opening Day rolls around. If the Red Sox find themselves in a similar situation as in 2019 at least they know they can rely on the left arm of Eduardo.
I can see him using 2018 and definitely 2019 as fuel to stoke his fire and work his butt off this winter ahead of 2020. I think deep down he wants to be the ace and the guy that is called upon to win the big games, and I believe he can be that guy.
Red Sox Nation has to wait until February to see the outcome of what will be Eduardo’s salary for 2020, as the trial period is set to take place between 2/3-2/21. I think the projection was fair but It’s hard to deny his desire to earn some more considering his workload from last season. It’ll be interesting to see where his salary finishes on the scale of projection versus reality.