Report: Red Sox ‘look like possible contenders’ to sign Eduardo Rodriguez

Red Sox

Rodriguez played for Boston between 2015-21, winning a World Series with the team in 2018.

Eduardo Rodriguez rejected the Red Sox’ qualifying offer following the 2021 season and signed with the Detroit Tigers shortly after. AP Photo/Duane Burleson

One MLB insider says the Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez could reunite this offseason.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman wrote on Thursday that the former Boston left-handed pitcher could return to the Red Sox as a free agent, calling the team a ‘possible contender’ to land Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who has spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, has logged a 3.58 ERA over 243.2 innings and 43 starts since joining the team following the 2021 season. 

The solid mid-rotation starter on a lowly Detroit team opted out of his $49 million deal with the Tigers and is looking for a new home. However, Rodriguez would come with a history of drama during his short time in Detroit.

In 2023, Rodriguez exercised his no-trade clause to veto a trade that would have sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the day of the MLB trade deadline (Aug. 1).

Also, just one month into his first season with the Tigers, Rodriguez was placed on the injured list with a ribcage sprain. Less than one month later, Detroit placed him on the restricted list due to personal matters. This removed him from the 40-man roster and left him without pay until he was reinstated in late July. He did not rejoin the major league club until August.

Considering that Boston is openly on the hunt for multiple starting pitchers this winter, it makes sense that chief baseball officer Craig Breslow is looking at all of his options in a loaded free agent pitching class. The Red Sox are very familiar with Rodriguez, who was also a decent No. 3/4 starter for Boston between 2015-21. 

A 2018 World Series champion with the Red Sox, Rodriguez logged a career 4.16 ERA over 153 starts and 1,100.1 innings in Boston. His 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a Red Sox would be welcome again, although that number dipped to 7.9 as a Tiger.

Where he would fit in the rotation as it is currently constructed, though, is the question. Rodriguez is certainly not a No. 1 or 2 starting pitcher. Meanwhile, Boston has enough backend starters in Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Nick Pivetta, and Chris Sale. Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock are being stretched out as starters this offseason despite their past roles as bullpen arms.

If Rodriguez were to sign in Boston right now, he would probably be the theoretical ace of the staff until another move was made. In that case, the Red Sox would need to make moves to accommodate Rodriguez and move other arms. Houck was floated by The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey last month as a ‘building block’ player who could be included in a larger trade. He was also reported as someone who gained ‘significant’ trade interest last offseason by MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.

In short, Boston acquiring Rodriguez in free agency would not solve their current lack of high-end starting pitching problem. The club would still need to spend big on multiple arms to fill out their rotation, and perhaps adding another backend man makes things even more difficult.