Update: On Monday morning ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted that Rodriguez had signed a five-year deal worth somewhere between 77-80 million dollars with the Detroit Tigers that includes an opt-out after Year 2.
The MLB Network’s Jon Morosi is reporting that the Blue Jays are among the teams with interest in Eduardo Rodriguez, but I’m not buying it.
Maybe it’s just my distaste for all things Red Sox, but I’m having a hard time believing that the Blue Jays would be seriously interesting in Rodriguez other than as a deep back-up plan. There are too many reasons to pass.
First, there are far better options in the starting pitching market, and much better ways to spend their available budget as well. The assumption is that the Blue Jays will try to re-sign Robbie Ray, who is expected to bag a 4-5 deal for more than 20 million per year, but it makes sense that they’re looking at back-up plans if he signs elsewhere.
Since Rodriguez rejected his own Qualifying Offer from the Red Sox, that tells me two things that I don’t care for one little bit. First, it likely means that he’s looking for a multi-year contract for at least 18 million or more per season, and I’m not so sure I believe that it’s a wise investment for the Blue Jays to make. I know his peripheral stats are much better than the 4.74 ERA and 1.389 WHIP over 31 starts that covered 157.1 innings would tell you, but I still don’t think I’d consider him to be anything more than a mid-rotation starter on a championship calibre team.
Secondly, the fact that E-Rod rejected his Qualifying Offer means that any team that signs him will have to give up some sort of draft pick compensation. The Blue Jays are set to receive two extra picks if they lose Ray and Marcus Semien in free agency, but I don’t like the idea of handing one to the Red Sox just to be able to sign a consolation prize like Rodriguez.
For my money, I can think of at least 8-10 other free agent starters I’d rather see the Blue Jays pursuing if they can’t bring Ray back for next season and beyond. There are proven veterans that may or may not be available such as Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and other potentially valuable arms that could come cheaper than E-Rod such as Jon Gray, or Anthony DeScalfani. Kevin Gausman has also his the free agent market again, and we Atkins has long had an eye on the former San Francisco starter. The Blue Jays could also turn to the trade market again if they prefer that route, and it’s possible that the Reds finally sell one or both of Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, or perhaps there’s a match to be had with the pitching-rich Miami Marlins.
The more I think about the idea of the Blue Jays signing Rodriguez, the less I like it. He’s had mixed results since an impressive 2019 season that saw him finish 6th in AL Cy Young award voting, missing the 2020 campaign because of a heart problem related to Covid-19. He’s going to cost a fair bit to get under contract, and he comes with the Qualifying Offer attached as well.
Maybe the Blue Jays see something in the Venezuelan born southpaw that I don’t, but I’m not seeing the fit at all. Still just 28 years old I’ll admit that it’s possible that we haven’t seen the best from Rodriguez yet, but I’m not banking on a Robbie Ray-like transformation in his future. My guess is this is just a case of the Blue Jays kicking the tires to gather info, and making sure that they leave no stone unturned.