Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez downslide costly to team and his contract future
Eduardo Rodriguez’s performance is costing the Red Sox wins
The Boston Red Sox had a young and promising left-hander in 2018 and 2019 in Eduardo Rodríguez. That pitcher has suddenly vanished. The reasoning, or part of it, can be explained here by BSI’s Sean Penney.
If there is a nugget of positive to be gleaned from Rodríguez it’s that the team still wins, barely, when he takes the mound. Boston is now 5-4 in E-Rod starts.
The most important number for Rodríguez is his service time. Rodríguez is a free agent and stands to roll in greenbacks if he proves value. At 28-years-old, the lefty is in his solid baseball years, but what has transpired this season will cost him once he enters the market if it continues.
Pitching is certainly at a premium and teams pay dearly for it even with a questionable performance record. The Red Sox did as much with Garrett Richards and so far it has been the smart move. Baseball is loaded with risk versus reward scenarios with pitching and Rodríguez is quickly pitching his way into the risk category.
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On the security depth chart, if two months ago you told me I would have more confidence in a Martín Pérez, Richards, or Nick Pivetta start than one by Rodríguez I would have suggested a check on medications. No more. Rodríguez is moving from almost ace status to God help us when he takes the hill.
The Red Sox are winning and they can afford to roll out Rodríguez every five days. Options are limited, especially with the questionable health of Tanner Houck. The team is scoring runs and can often survive an E-Rod meltdown. But what to do?
Rodríguez could be in a pitching slump. A variety of circumstances from the noted metrics to physical conditioning. There is his missing season over ramifications from COVID. Unlike others who have taken the hill and failed there is a solid track record of performance with Rodríguez.
Boston could go hunting for another solid starter as salary dumps become all the more common in baseball. Boston has often become a place where bad contracts go to die. Max Scherzer is a name that has been mentioned frequently. Could Washington be looking for a free agent clear out with the talented Scherzer?
The Red Sox staff could soon get Chris Sale back and he has to prove himself after a long surgical layoff. A solid Sale could allow Boston to explore trade options with Rodríguez. Boston did just that with Jon Lester. You hate to give up pitching but sometimes circumstances cause harsh decisions to be made. With free agency, a trade does not necessarily mean the end of days in Boston for Rodríguez. And Bloom has no compulsions about trading anyone. Just think Mookie Betts or a long list in Tampa.
Free agency also offers another curious choice for Red Sox management. If the Rodríguez we currently see remains, Boston could do the risk/reward and do a qualifying offer. A few hurlers have surprised – those being on a thin statistical interpretation line – and grabbed the one-year deal. A risk for player or team.
The absolute best option is that Rodríguez suddenly discovers the mound magic and Boston’s biggest offseason issue is just how many years and how much money to pay him. Otherwise, we may see a version of Rodríguez that is more in line with the career performance of the previously mentioned Perez.