Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez accepts salary offer for 2021
In the first big move of the 2021 season, the Red Sox have an inkling of their starting rotation. Now, we’ve known what the puzzle pieces were going to be for the most part but it was a matter of how they would all fit together. Some early morning news has given the image some shape as it was made known that Eduardo Rodriguez had accepted Boston’s offer of $8.3MM for 2021 to avoid arbitration.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that E-Rod and the Red Sox came to terms on the one-year/$$8.3MM deal for 2021. We knew Rodriguez would be back for 2021 it was just a matter of how much of the budget he’d be eating up to make his return. The number should look familiar to people as it was what he was set to earn for the 2020 season had it not been shortened and he had not contracted COVID-19 and his subsequent bout of myocarditis.
The Boston starting rotation is still a bit in shambles as Chaim Bloom will soon begin his attack on the free-agent market. Nathan Eovaldi will be back and surely chucking 100mph at batters without a second thought. Chris Sale is targeting a mid-summer return to the team as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. And now that Rodriguez has a clean bill of health, he’ll be back and trying to replicate his 2019 performance.
Getting E-Rod back for the same amount that they were supposed to pay him a season prior is a big win for the Red Sox. He could’ve easily come to the negotiating table and tried to leverage what he did in his previous two seasons for more money. The thing is, Eduardo has shown to be fiercely loyal to Boston and doesn’t seem like the type of player to try and bleed to team dry.
In fact, not too long ago he spoke about signing an extension that would see him finish his career with the Sox, and hopefully, that becomes a reality. That plays a factor here as this is not only E-Rod’s final year of arbitration but he’ll soon be a free agent once the 2021 season ends and the calendar flips to 2022. Having him show such a desire to remain with the club is huge and he’s now shown he isn’t here to price gauge the front office. Get that extension done, Chaim.
Bloom and his team have a lot of work to do this winter as the Red Sox ownership group will not allow the team to finish at the bottom of the barrel for the second year in a row. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed mainly the pitching and a massive gap in the outfield. So once again, getting Eddie Aces back and for such a bargain price will allow Boston to go out and spend some money with their newly reset CBT penalty marker.
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Had he not contracted COVID, Rodriguez was set to be the Opening Day starter in 2020 and the leader of the Red Sox starting rotation. The pitching staff from 2019 to 2020 looked a hell of a lot different from the exits of David Price and Rick Porcello via trade and free agency and the aforementioned injury to Sale. Rodriguez saw himself skyrocket from the third-fourth man in the rotation to the top dog.
Some may have had doubts that Eduardo could pull off being the ace of the staff this past year but it’s hard to deny he’d earned to opportunity based on his 2019 efforts. A 19-6 record through 203.1IP, with a 3.81 ERA, 3.86 FIP, and 1.328 WHIP were stellar in his last full season. He also had a solid 213/75 K/BB ratio which led to a 9.4 K/9. His 34 starts that year led the entire MLB while those previously mentioned 75 free passes led the American League. So it wasn’t a perfect campaign but considering his previous roles on this team, it was pretty damn good.
It’s still too early to know where exactly Chaim Bloom will go with his free agency tactics but getting Eduardo Rodriguez back for such a bargain is a huge first step. For E-Rod, he knows he has this year set as far as pay is concerned and can focus solely on getting back to full strength for Opening Day. The lefty had a chance to follow up a career year with something even better in 2020 but had it stolen from him. I have zero doubts that he’ll storm into 2021 ready to remind everyone just how damn good he can be.