Three players we’re glad the Blue Jays did not sign in the offseason
Signed a five-year $77 million contract with the Detroit Tigers
After spending six years with the Boston Red Sox organization, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the first starting pitchers off the board this past offseason. After rejecting the Red Sox qualifying offer, he signed a five-year deal with the Detroit Tigers and became one of their veteran pitchers on the roster, joined by the likes of Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Matt Manning amongst others. With the Red Sox, the Venezualan product owned a 4.16 ERA with 892 strikeouts through 159 appearances.
The Blue Jays were probably upset the left-hander was leaving the AL East, as he struggled when facing the club during his time with Boston, authoring a 5.20 ERA through 17 outings (16 starts) while allowing 17 home runs through 90.0 innings with a 1.300 WHIP. The Jays also reportedly seemed interested in the lefty, as the club was looking for starter options with Ray and Matz likely leaving the team for free agency.
Rodriguez decided to take his talents to Detroit and his first season with the Tigers is not going so well, as the veteran pitcher has only made eight starts this year and has allowed 19 earned runs through 39.0 innings of work while on track to post one of his lowest K/9 rates over his career (7.8). He suffered an injury to his ribs and was placed on the IL but informed the team shortly after that he would be taking a leave of absence for personal matters. It was even reported that the Tigers were having trouble getting into contact with Rodriguez while he was on the restricted list but he is now back pitching and rehabbing in the minors to get game ready, with the club likely gaining him back in a couple of weeks time. He has not pitched for the Tigers since May 18th.
The Blue Jays have already had to deal with Hyun Jin Ryu being out for the season and while we can bemoan the Kikuchi starts, at least he was healthy and able to pitch for a majority of the season (minus the month with a neck strain). If the Jays had signed Rodriguez and had to deal with a similar absence, it would have really strained the rotation depth that the club doesn’t necessarily have given the Ryu injury putting Stripling into the rotation already. Maybe the Rodriguez deal doesn’t give the Jays the finances to sign Gausman as well, who is having a far superior season with the Jays compared to the Tigers starter.
Overall, the deal could turn out to be a great sign for the Tigers in one of the four other seasons he is signed for but for this campaign, it seems to be a bust so far.