A sneaky trade chip is emerging in Detroit, and the Blue Jays may want in on it

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins - Eduardo Rodriguez
Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins - Eduardo Rodriguez / David Berding/GettyImages

Two years ago, during the 2021 offseason, it was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays were among teams that were interested in former Boston Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez during free agency. In the end, the Jays ended up signing Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi instead, while Rodriguez ended up signing a five-year, $77M contract with an opt-out after the second season with the Detroit Tigers.

In his first season with the Tigers, Rodriguez would go 5-5 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, giving up 41 earned runs, with 34 walks and 72 strikeouts over 91 innings pitched. In between, he had a stint on the IL with a left ribcage sprain in mid May, and a stint on the restrictive list to deal with a personal matter between June to August, before finally returning to the team near the end of August. So in hindsight, the Jays did well in steering clear of him.

However, now into his second season with the Tigers, Rodriguez has gotten off to the best start in his career, as in seven games, he has been absolutely dominant, going 3-2 and has given up only nine runs, with eight walks and 39 strikeouts over 44.2 innings for a 1.81 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. If he can continue to keep this up for the rest of the season, he would definitely become a valuable trade chip for the Tigers. If so, should the Blue Jays be interested? Let’s go over the pros and cons of it.


  • As a part of his contract, Rodriguez has an opt-out after this current season. This could lower his trade value immensely because he would basically be a rental instead of someone with term and control. As a result, the Jays would be able to acquire him without giving up too many prized assets to add a strong rotation piece for the stretch run.
  • Also, he has had some past success against teams in the AL East, in particular the New York Yankees (8-6 record, 3.76 ERA) and the Baltimore Orioles (14-5 record, 2.74 ERA), and he would know his opponents well from his six-year tenure with the Boston Red Sox.
  • In addition, a deadline acquisition for Rodriguez for the Jays would help provide insurance in the event any of the Jays’ current starting five is still struggling in July or is on the mend, he would fit in seamlessly in any slot in the rotation without missing a beat.
  • Finally, with his health and personal issues behind him and the chance to maximize his next contract, he will no doubt perform to the best of his ability this year to show that he is worth the money. So a pitcher looking to be on the top of his game would bode well for the contending Jays.


  • Rodriguez’s career ERA is above 4.00 and career WHIP is close to 1.3. What he is producing currently so far this year may be just an anomaly and eventually regress to the mean over time.
  • His success this year thus far also encompasses the fact that he is now part of the AL Central division, which in general is a lot weaker than the powerhouse AL East, so returning to the AL East may revert his numbers back to what they used to be in no time.
  • Also, as a part of Rodriguez’s current contract, he has a 10-team no trade list, so if the Jays are one of the ten teams on that list, it wouldn’t matter what the Jays do, he won’t be coming to Toronto any time soon.

Overall, Rodriguez may be worth a shot if there is still a weak link in the Jays’ starting rotation or is out on the IL for a period of time by the time the 2023 trade deadline comes around. But if things don’t work out, there’s always Hyun Jin-Ryu coming off the 60-day IL to turn to.